LOTTO, Lorenzo
(b. ca. 1480, Venezia, d. 1556, Loreto)

San Bernardino Altarpiece

1521
Oil on canvas, 300 x 275 cm
San Bernardino in Pignolo, Bergamo

The San Bernardino Altarpiece is one of the masterpieces of Lotto, in which he utilizes all his previous experiences: the rules of Raphael, the sfumato of Leonardo, the intimacy of Foppa, and the northern pathos. The represented saints, flanking the Madonna and Child, are Joseph, Bernardino, John the Baptist, and Anthony Abbot.

Recent restoration has revealed the limpidity of the original colours. An excellent example of the most distinctive stage of Lotto's painting, this altarpiece is movingly expresses the feeling of passing time. The green canopy, which the angels stretch between them with difficulty is slipping down the steps of the throne, while the Virgin leans from the shade towards the light with an unconventional gesture, and the saints are conversing animatedly.