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

Madonna and Child with Saints

c. 1506
Oil on wood, 83 x 105 cm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

The represented saints are Jerome, Peter, Clare and Francis. The painting shows the influence of Giovanni Bellini and Albrecht Dürer.

In this Sacra Conversazione, Lotto adopted a compositional type familiar in the work of Giovanni Bellini and his workshop, consisting of the slightly elevated Virgin and Child flanked by two pairs of saints. But whereas Bellini's three-quarter-length figures are typically detached from each other and from the viewer, as if lost in meditation, Lotto chose to depict a real colloquy. He activates the static Bellinesque formula by having the Child scrutinize the scroll held up to him by the aged Jerome and by representing the Virgin in dialogue with St Francis, as she reacts to the stigmata that he displays.