Carlo Crivelli, St Catherine of Alexandria and St Mary Magdalene, c.1491-94, tempera on lime, around 38 x 19 cm each, The National Gallery, London. Source
These two tempera panels were taken from an unidentified frame or predella. Both saints are depicted with their corresponding objects; St Catherine with her wheel, and Mary Magdalene with her ointment jar.
Painted in about 1480, this panel is one of the artist’s most exquisite pictures and is almost perfectly preserved, demonstrating his love for enameled surfaces. Flemish painting may have inspired the remarkable precision of detail in the background. The apples and the fly are symbols of sin and evil and are opposed to the cucumber and the goldfinch, symbols of redemption.
Charged with excitement and bristling with spiky forms, Saint George Slaying the Dragon is one of Carlo Crivelli’s masterpieces. Although the artist worked for more than thirty years after painting it, he never produced anything quite so full of vigor and imagination. What could be more dramatic than the contrast between the rearing horse, its head distorted with fear, and the tender saint, his eyes fixed on the dragon he is about to slaughter? Crivelli’s saint is no robust hero, but a slim boy who must use all his might to wield his heavy sword. The jutting shapes of his armor are echoed in the towers of the hill town in the background. On a cliff just below it, kneels the tiny figure of the princess who was to be the dragon’s next victim. X