The story of Catherine of Alexandria (ca 4th century) has a long and rich history. The essentials are that at 18 she had a vision so powerful that she converted to Christianity. During the persecution of Maximus, Catherine, still a young woman, offered to debate the leading pagan philosophers. The story holds that Catherine’s ability to teach and explain was so compelling that she converted many of the opposing philosophers. Enraged, Maximus tried to have Catherine broken on the wheel; it was, however, the wheel, not Catherine, that broke, though she was later martyred by other means. Catherine became one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages. (Later, Joan of Arc claimed that one of the voices of inspiration she heard was that of Catherine.) Catherine’s skill in explaining new ideas to a diverse audience is what made her one of the patrons of teachers and all those (like librarians) associated with learning and wisdom.
This small depiction of Catherine incorporates two key symbols associated with Catherine. As in William Morris’s famous stained glass window of Catherine, she is here depicted with a book in hand. The wheel above her head echoes that in Caravaggio’s painting of her. Catherine is now widely considered to be legendary, but that matters little: what matters is her example and inspiration to those who teach and those who emphasize the importance of wisdom.
This one of a kind figure is completely hand made by Hank Schlau and hand painted by his wife Karen Schlau. Made of durable material that can be displayed both indoors and outdoors.
Dimension & Specifications