1503, Bishop Bernardo De Rossi escapes a conspiracy plotted by his political opponents. What better way of thanking his patron saints than having a votive offering in the form of a painting done by the talented Lorenzo Lotto?
Saint Peter the Martyr -killed in an ambush- is represented pierced by a cleaver and a dagger: the same fate could’ve happened to the artist’s client!
Even though he was safe in real life, the Bishop didn’t survive inside this painting. Originally Lotto portrayed him kneeling in front of the Virgin; at the end of the century, he was removed and replaced by Young Saint John. Obviously, not Lotto’s work!
Lotto differs from other Venetian masters. Their technique is characterized by dense colors, in overlapping layers. Lotto, instead, seeks a sculptural quality of color, with a cutting light that produces a chiaroscuro contrast. The sharpness of the figures reflects their moral character: the marble look of Madonna’s face displays her solemnity.
Madonna and Child with St. Peter Martyr (dated 1503) by Lorenzo LottoMuseo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte