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

Madonna and Child with Saints and an Angel

Oil on canvas, 114 x 152 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

This painting shows the influence of Palma Vecchio. In the 15th century Venetian painting Giovanni Bellini and Antonello da Messina developed the perfect and much followed type of the subject of Madonna with a group of saints. The group was alway composed symmetrically in an architectural setting. At the beginning of the next century this composition scheme was loosened and the group was frequently set in a landscape.

The represented saints are Catherine of Alexandria and Thomas. The latter is usually called James the Greater, whose attribute is a pilgrim's staff. However, the object depicted is a spear, therefore the saint must be the apostle Thomas. Indeed, he was identified as such in a catalogue of the Austrian imperial collection of 1783.