(b. ca. 1480, Venezia, d. 1556, Loreto)
Holy Family with St Jerome1534
Oil on canvas, 69 x 88 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
The painting is one of the first works completed a few months after Lorenzo Lotto arrived in the Marches.
Inside the Virgin's bedroom, the holy figures are shown in a direct, touching manner, following an original approach introduced by Flemish painters, and one that is similar to the artist's other painting from the same period, such as the Annunciation in Recanati.
The canvas stands out for its originality, also from an iconographic viewpoint: St Anne is leaning against the step on a four-poster bed, with her legs open with the Virgin and the Baby Jesus between them, singularly and vividly representing in this manner, the concept of their descending from her womb. The presence of St Jerome, on the left, pointing to the Holy Family with his open hand, may be a reference to the person who commissioned the work, named Jerome.
The range of acid colours, the gradation of cold light and the lack of contrast in the shadows confirm the characteristics of Lotto's works in that period, including the Holy Family with St Catherine of Alexandria at the Carrara Academy of Bergamo, which is signed and dated 1533.
This painting comes from the famous collection of Ferdinando de' Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany and on the right side, at the base of the cushion on which St Anne and the Virgin Mary are seated, it is signed: "Lorenzo Loto 1534". A version of the painting (painted in collaboration with his workshop) is in the Courtauld Gallery in London. It is completely similar to the present work except for the presence of an area of scenery in place of St Jerome.