MORETTO da Brescia
(b. ca. 1498, Brescia, d. 1554, Brescia)

A Saint Monk

Oil on canvas, 81 x 71,5 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Acquired for the Museum in 1895 it was at first held to be by Moroni. Frizzoni traced it to Moretto in 1903. The subject is alternately designated as St Louis and St Placid. The martyr-saint is placed as in a portrait, even though everything else seems to point to a fragment of an altarpiece. The very position of the figure, the drapery on the right, which adumbrates a corresponding one on the left, with, in the centre, a Madonna against the background of a typical Veneto scenery, would appear to suggest a work of Venetian inspiration, such as can be seen in Tosio Martinengo of Brescia's altarpiece of St Anthony of Padua. His richly "atmospheric" Venetian colour scheme in particular bears witness to yet another attempt of his to test the tonal gamut. This is the particular moment in time that marks the birth of Moretto's true art at the confluence of Venetian painting and Brescian milieu, stamped by Moroni's, Romanino's and Savoldo's work, and seminal to an alternating pattern of fabulous colouring shot through with the cachets of the radical tradition of Lombardy.