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

Madonna and Child with Sts Peter, Christine, Liberale, and Jerome

Oil on wood, 177 x 162 cm (lunette: 90 x 179 cm)
Santa Cristina al Tiverone, Treviso

The Santa Cristina al Tiverone Altarpiece, a Sacra Conversazione, is the most important work of Lotto's Treviso period. Its composition shows the knowledge of Giovanni Bellini's San Zaccaria Altarpiece.

In contrast with the growing use of tonal gradation of light, which was particularly widespread in the province where Giorgione was born, Lotto seemed to wish to return to northern inspiration. Thus the strong, incisive line, the clear light and the severe expression of the figures match a compositional structure that was apparently traditional, but was, in fact, already affected by a feeling of unrest.

The lunette represents the Dead Christ Surrounded by two Angels. The expressive power of it is noteworthy. The realism of this painting anticipates that of Caravaggio a century later.