Campania : The Tomb of Catherine of Austria

Tomb of Catherine of Austria

Tomb of Catherine of Austria, 1323, Tino di Camaino, San Lorenzo Maggiore, Naples.

Just before the Black Death obliterated the population of medieval Europe, Duchess Catherine of Austria was living in Naples with her husband of seven years. This catalog discusses the tomb of Catherine, which has been housed in the San Lorenzo Maggiore since it was first erected. The famous Italian artist Tino di Camaino constructed the tomb shortly after Catherine’s death in January of 1323. It was revolutionary in the tradition of tomb building due to its incorporation of mosaic work. Camaino was commissioned from another part of Italy, working with Southern Italian artists to integrate mosaics into the tomb. The structure is fitted into the ambulatory of the church, featuring four main columns, each with delicate mosaic bands climbing up them. These support the sarcophagus, which has a sculpture of a sleeping Catherine, draped in a fine robe and crown. The top of the piece comes together with a covered archway, housing images of Christ and the Virgin.