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

The Holy Family with St Catherine of Alexandria

Oil on canvas, 82 x 115 cm
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Six other versions of this subject by Lotto are known, the present one being the earliest and the finest of them. Exceptionally among devotional images of this type, it is not the Virgin but Joseph who occupies the centre and performs the principal actions. St Catherine of Alexandria merely prays, there is no mystic marriage. The probable subject of this signed and dated painting is the Rest on the Flight to Egypt, with the anachronistic presence of St Catherine.