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

St Nicholas in Glory with Sts John the Baptist and Lucy

1527-29
Oil on canvas, 335 x 188 cm
Chiesa dei Carmini, Venice

The painting comes from the altar of the Scuola dei Mercanti, dedicated to St Nicholas. The church possessed, among other treasures, a relic of the very popular St Lucy. This helps to explain the leading and secondary figures included.

Lotto's career in Venice was considerably hindered by the city's artistic milieu, which was excessively dominated by Titian. Lotto had very few opportunities to make his presence felt and his works were systematically denigrated. This painting, which can now be seen as a fascinatingly poetic creation, especially for the bird's-eye view of the landscape, was pointed to as a reprehensible example of "bad painting."