Filippo Paladini was an Italian late Mannerist artist from Tuscany who spent some years in Malta in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He was engaged to carry out many artistic commissions including altarpieces for various churches as well as cycles of wall paintings for Verdala Palace.
The ‘Mystic Marriage of St Catherine’ is a quietly touching painting by Paladini. It depicts the young St Catherine receiving a wedding ring from the Christ Child, thus symbolizing her spiritual engagement with God. The elongated figures convey the artist’s Mannerist training, while the striking yet soft light suggests Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro, as the protagonists emerge from a dark void. The painting was donated to the National Collection in 2009 by Judge Giovanni Bonello and Dr Joseph and Mrs Anna Xuereb on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the death of Vincenzo Bonello (1891-1969), first curator of the Fine Arts Section within the then Valletta Museum.