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Madonna and Child with Saints

Oil on canvas, 287 x 268 cm
Church of Santo Spirito, Bergamo

by Lorenzo Lotto - Italian painter, Venetian school (b. ca. 1480, Venezia, d. 1556, Loreto)

The represented saints are Catherine of Alexandria, Augustine, Sebastian, Anthony the Abbot, and the Young John the Baptist.

The painting echoes the circular compositions of Raphael, with a definitely Northern interpretation.

Lotto's three great altarpieces for churches in Bergamo, which were painted between 1516 and 1521, in the same periods as Titian's Assumption and Pesaro altar, are High Renaissance compositions, but closer, in their symmetrical arrangement, to Florentine painters like Fra Bartolommeo and Albertinelli, than to Titian himself. Yet for all the balance of their compositions, they remain restless in detail, and a passion for bright local color, and smooth hard surfaces prevents Lotto from achieving, or even aiming at, the painterly unity of his contemporaries. This failure to integrate perhaps reflects, at the deepest level, the tensions of a neurotic personality.