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St Catherine before the Pope at Avignon
c. 1460
Tempera on panel, 29 x 29 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

by Giovanni Di Paolo - Italian painter, Sienese school (b. ca. 1399, Siena, d. 1482, Siena)

The painting, which depicts St Catherine being blessed by the Pope, who is accompanied by three cardinals (with their red berettas) and two scribes, was one of a series of ten on the life of St Catherine, who lived from 1347 to 1380 (coinciding with the period of the Popes' exile in Avignon). The series may have been commissioned in conjunction with Catherine's canonization in 1461.