SAINT CATHERINE of SIENA'S TOMB and ITS PLACE in SANTA MARIA SOPRA MINERVA, ROME: NARRATION, TRANSLATION and VENERATION Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • By examining the historical narratives of Saint Catherine of Siena's death and burial this paper sheds new light on the liturgical layout of the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome c. 1380. Since then Saint Catherine's remains have been translated five times, and at each translation, the form and decoration of her sepulchre has changed, showing how different aspects of her life were commemorated at each renewal of her tomb. These transformations are examined in the light of what survives today and of other literary documentation. Particular attention is given to the way Catherine was represented before and after her canonization in 1461. This explains why a relief attributed to Donatello that has been associated with her tomb may date c. 1430, while a figure of the saint by an artist close to Isaia of Pisa was made c. 1466. The paper also examines the consequences of placing the tomb under the altar of the Capranica chapel in 1579, and of moving the monument under the high altar of the church in 1855, when Santa Maria sopra Minerva was restored according to neo-Gothic principles. Each phase of her tomb shows how Catherine has been venerated from 1380 until the present.

publication date

  • 2015