0295 Notes on the Early Provenance of Paolo Veronese’s Saint Catherine of Alexandria in Prison

  • Orsolya Bubryák (Author)

    Art historian Orsolya Bubryák is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Art History, Research Center for the Humanities (formerly a research institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), in Budapest, Hungary. She received her Ph.D. in art history from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, in 2010. Between 2011 and 2013, she was chief curator of the Art Collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Since 2016, she has been the editor-in-chief of the journal Ars Hungarica published by the Institute of Art History. She is the author of two books: Family History and its Visual Representation. Collections of the Erdődy Castle in Galgóc (2013 [in Hungarian]) and Collecting Clues. In Search of an Art Collector in Seventeenth-Century Vienna (2018 [in English]). Currently, she is researching the art collection of the Augsburg merchant Hans Steininger (1552–1634).

Identifiers (Article)


This article provides information about the early provenance of the Paolo Veronese painting entitled Saint Catherine of Alexandria in Prison in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The painting can most likely be traced back to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Augsburg. Descriptions that match the Veronese painting are found in the inventories of two very wealthy Augsburg merchants: one is in the post mortem inventory of Octavian Secundus Fugger (ca. 1600/1601), the other in a list of works of art from the collection of Hans Steininger (ca. 1641/42). Octavian Secundus Fugger only occasionally bought paintings from Venice, never seeking to amass a systematic collection of art. The deeply religious Catholic merchant, who was a strong supporter of the Jesuits, hung his picture of Saint Catherine, along with other religious paintings, in the antechapel of his house, and it remained at this location until the early 17th century. The painting’s later owner, however, the Lutheran textile merchant Hans Steininger, was a highly educated art collector who created one of the most illustrious collections in Augsburg. In his Kunstkammer, Veronese’s painting was displayed in the company of mythological female figures, nymphs, and Venus, accompanied by a whole series of paintings by renowned artists such as Hans von Aachen, Christoph Amberger, Paris Bordone, Hans Burgkmair, Joseph Heintz and Titian. Steininger’s collection was dispersed after his death, but many of the paintings he owned can still be identified. Veronese’s Saint Catherine of Alexandria may be one of them.


Paolo Veronese, Saint Catherine in Prison, Octavian Secundus Fugger, Hans Steininger, Augsburg, art collecting