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Saint Catherine

Story from a garage

The painting had been lying in a garage corner of the parish office in Margecany for a long time. First, there was no space for it in the local parish church and later it was so badly damaged that it would have been a shame to display it. There was no money for its restoration and so it was neglected and forgotten in the garage corner. Now and then, they would move it or cover it with old car tyres. Although they had been treating the painting piously, the person painted there was a saint after all, nevertheless, with the course of time it became so badly damaged, and the damage was getting bigger and bigger, that it was eventually difficult to read.
When a new parsonage was built in Margecany, the painting was transferred there in the hope that, one day, it may be restored and displayed, at least in the parsonage, if not in the church. Curators, clergymen and priests had been taking turns and the painting sank into the oblivion again. The first effort for its rescue came on the impetus of a sextoness in 2000. The museum offered to purchase the painting and include it into its collections. The parish council, however, was not showing any interest, they were still hoping to obtain the money for its restoration and display it in the church.
In 2010 the museum had, eventually, acquired the painting. Intensive communication had been going on between the parish office, the parish council on the one hand and the museum on the other one and, in the end, it was possible to purchase the painting and include it into museum collecions, restore and rescue it. This is the happy end of a story from a garage.

What was its condition prior to restoration?

The condition of the artwork prior to restoration was the state of emergency and the former altar painting was threatened with destruction. Nevertheless, it had been purchased into museum collections for its undoubtedly high artistic and historical value.
The painting was practically torn into several parts. In the museum restoration study it was examined and restored. Its original liturgical function had to be replaced with a museological one and today it is one of the most significant artworks of the 19th century to be found in the museum collections.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

This Christian virgin and martyr is said to have lived at the turn of the 3rd and the 4th centuries in Alexandria. According to a legend, which had been known since the 10th century, she was a daughter of a Cypriot king who was living in exile in Alexandria. She abounded in beauty, wisdom and wealth. Around 307 she was executed by sword for having spread Christianity. Her remains are deposited in a convent on the Mount Sinai (Mount of Moses, in the Egyptian desert). Her attributes are a broken wheel, a sword, a palm, a lily, a crown on the head and a cross. She is venerated as a protectress of young girls, teachers, theologians, philosophers, solicitors, notaries, universities, libraries, hospitals, nurses, wheelers, millers, sailors, shoemakers. Her feast is on the 25th November.

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