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

Mystic Marriage of St Catherine (detail)

Oil on canvas
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

The detail shows St Catherine. The medallion hanging from thee saint's belt is typical of Lotto's world of emblematic symbols. Its winged putto is a recurring motif in the artist's work. Lotto employed a similar putto in his 1525 inlay designs for the steps of the choir entrance at Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo, accompanied by the motto "Nosce te ipsum". The motif and motto appear again in Lotto's portrait of an anonymous Thirty-seven year old man (Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome), though without the same degree of detail evident in the Mystic Marriage. The theme of wisdom and justice, symbolically communicated by the putto with his feet resting on a balance, is well adapted to this learned saint. Catherine is also portrayed with a richness of clothing and jewels which, though normal to her iconography, are distinctive in the refined attention with which the artist treats them.

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