CIMA da Conegliano
(b. ca. 1459, Conegliano, d. 1517/18, Conegliano)

St Peter Martyr with St Nicholas of Bari, St Benedict and an Angel Musician

Oil on panel, 330 x 216 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

The painting is from the church of Corpus Domini in Venice. It was commissioned by Benedetto Carloni in his woill of November 5, 1504. It is signed in Latin on the paper on the base: "JOANIS BAPTISTA CIMA / CONEGLIAN(ENS)IS."

Cima must have been attracted at a very early age to Venice, where he was fascinated by the elder Bellini and Antonello da Messina. From them he acquired a pictorial repertory suited to his work on a provincial circuit, and like Montagna and Alvise Vivarini, he propagated their approach to painting on the mainland and in Emilia. His work, however, has richer colour and warmth, through the influence of Giorgione.

This altarpiece shows Cima's typical mixture of the archaic and the modern. The impeccably harmonious fifteenth-century construction of architecture and figures is accompanied by a modern sunny atmosphere and a landscape steeped in luminous vapour. The traveling artist has evoked memories of his birthplace, setting it on the shores of a quiet lake and peopling it with shepherds, as in an Arcadian dream.