MORONI, Giovanni Battista
(b. ca. 1525, Albino, d. 1578, Bergamo)

A Gentleman in Adoration before the Madonna

Oil on canvas, 60 x 65 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Moretto was born in Albino, in the foothills of the Alps. The neighbouring towns of Brescia - home of his teacher Moretto - and Bergamo, where Moroni worked from 1554, were situated in a frontier region between Milan and Venice, Central Italy and Southern Germany. We first encounter Moroni in 1546 in Trent, painting altarpieces during the initial session of the Council convoked there to heal and reform the Church. When the Council of Trent closed in 1563, it had, however, formalised the rift between Catholics and Protestants. Moretto, deeply responsive to the injunctions of the Council, followed its prescriptions of doctrinal Catholic orthodoxy, clarity and realism in religious art. Throughout his life Moroni modelled his religious paintings on those of Moretto. But his real talent lay elsewhere, and it is as a portrait specialist that we prize him today.