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

Recanati Polyptych

Oil on wood
Pinacoteca Civica, Recanati

The painter was commissioned by the Dominican friars at Recanati in 1506 to execute the polyptych consisting of six compartments. This structure (Sts Thomas Aquinas and Flavian at the left wing, Sts Peter the Martyr and Vitus at the right wing, Sts Lucy and Vincent Ferrer, the Pietà, and Sts Catherine of Siena and Sigismund at the upper part) is essentially Quattrocento in spirit.

The destruction of the original frame led to the breaking up of the work and the loss of the predella, the only surviving panel of which is kept in Vienna. However, the work, with its incisive characterization, maintains a unitary nature. The light and architectural setting link the three largest panels, while the Pietà above shares the dark background and the melancholy atmosphere of the two smaller parts, with pairs of saints absorbed in meditation.