How and why did a medieval female saint from the Eastern Mediterranean come to be such a powerful symbol in early modern Rome? This study provides an overview of the development of the cult of Catherine of Alexandria in Renaissance Rome, exploring in particular how a saint's cult could be variously imaged and 'reinvented' to suit different eras and patronal interests. Cynthia Stollhans traces the evolution of the saint's imagery through the lens of patrons and their interests-with special focus on the importance of Catherine's image in the fashioning of her Roman identity-to show how her imagery served the religious, political, and/or social agendas of individual patrons and religious orders.
'Situated within the evolution and tradition of St. Catherine scholarship and offering a tightly-focused examination of the cult in a specific time and place, Stollhans delves deeply into the issue of artistic patronage in Renaissance Rome, examining the ways in which various patrons used and referenced Catherine's cult to forward their own agendas and formulate their public identities … a fascinating study of the uses and applications of the Catherine cult.' Scott B. Montgomery, University of Denver, USA; author of Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins of Cologne
'St. Catherine of Alexandria is a multi-purpose saint,� thrice-crowned� as virgin, martyr, and doctor. Most of all, she had the one-two combo of beauty and intelligence�. Relatively recent studies have explored her cult in Western Christendom and in northern Europe - England and France - in particular. Cynthia Stollhans complements this literature with a focus on Rome, the city of all saints, and the development of Catherine’s cult in the papal city from the eighth to the sixteenth century.' Studies in Iconography
Contents: Introduction; From east to west: St Catherine of Alexandria arrives in Rome; The ’Romanization’ of St Catherine and the cardinal from Milan; St Catherine and the papacy; Sacred and gendered unions: Catherine of Alexandria and hermit saints; The problem of two saints named Catherine in the Fetti chapel; In the service of family dynasties: the Theodoli and Cesi; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.