STROZZI, Bernardo
(b. 1581, Genova, d. 1644, Venezia)

The Charity of St Lawrence

Oil on canvas, 206 x 162 cm
San Nicola da Tolentino, Venice

After moving to Venice, Strozzi was also successful in his later career when he produced large-scale paintings and altarpieces. This filled a gap that had opened in the local school. Strozzi's early fleshy and thick style was still present in his Venetian canvases with their clear references to Rubens. By this time, however, the opportunity of seeing the work of Titian and other great sixteenth-century Venetian masters had made Strozzi's work more spectacular.

This painting is a later version of the subject that was repeated many times by the artist. Strozzi tackles an audacious lowered perspective, finding a satisfying point of equilibrium in the chromatic contrast of the beggars' coarse nakedness, indicative of their poverty, and the Dalmatian red of the young dean. The latter's grace and gentleness are the counterpoint to the supplicants' gesticulation.