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The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Exhibition Detail
Two Female Martyred Saints
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111

March 1st, 2013 - June 30th, 2013
Left: Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Right: Saint Cecilia, Bernardo StrozziBernardo Strozzi,
Left: Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Right: Saint Cecilia,
1610-1615, 1620-1625, Oil on canvas, 69 1/8 x 48 1/2 inches, 68 1/8 x 48 3/8 x 1 7/8 inches
© Courtesy of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
United States
Wed, 10 a.m.—4 p.m. Thurs, Fri, 10 a.m.—9 p.m. Sat, 10 a.m.—5 p.m. Sun, Noon—5 p.m.

Blood, gore and gruesome beheadings? Would you have guessed these women are known for their fervent devotion to their faith and their tragic martyrdoms? Their pleasant expressions and elegant dress suggest that they are fashionable young women rather than martyred saints.

For a limited time, this painting of Catherine of Alexandria is on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT in exchange for our Caravaggio, Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness. We placed her alongside our own Strozzi painting of a female saint, Cecilia, who similarly was martyred for her Christian faith.

Though Catherine and Cecilia perished at the hands of executioners, these paintings barely acknowledge their tragic deaths. After all, it was much easier to live with a painting of a martyred saint resembling an attractive young woman, than a horrific martyrdom scene.

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