SS. Rose and Catherine were Dominican tertiaries; St. Agnes,
a Dominican prioress. Here all three wear variations of the
Gregory of Tours once argued that the saints all have a
single "life" because they "share collectively in the luminous
life of the incarnate Christ."1
In that spirit the artist has transposed some of the saints'
attributes, as if they were all one in sainthood. Rose's crown
of thorns is here worn by Agnes; Agnes' lilies are at Rose's
feet; and Catherine's black cape bears a small gray cross such
as we sometimes see on Agnes' garments (see below).
At the same time, each saint also has one attribute of her
own: the crucifix for Agnes, the Christ Child and eponymous
flower for Rose, and the rosary that Catherine is starting to
assemble by hand.
Detail: The cross on Catherine's cape:
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