Martinengo Altarpiece

Artist: Italian Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto
Year: 1513-1516

The Martinengo Altarpiece is an oil painting completed by the Italian painter Lorenzo Lotto in 1516. Now it has been housed in the church of Santi Bartolomeo e Stefano, Bergamo, northern Italy. The painting, which took three long years to finish, the largest painted finished by Lotto. In 1516 he signed a contract for a big altarpiece for the high altar of the church of San Bartolomeo in Bergamo. The painting was funded by Alessandro Martinengo Colleoni, who selected the church as a burial place of family.

The theme of the painting is a Holy Conversation. The Virgin is sitting on the throne with the Child on her lap and they are surrounded by saints. The interpretation of the different parts of this painting is diverse. The magnificent architecture of the painting is probably motivated by Bramante style. Two angels watching everything from a balaustrade might be inspired by Mantegna’s Camera degli Sposi and two others are above holding Mary’s crown. The caption in the higher part showing ‘Divina Suave’ is probably referring to Venice. The throne, where Mary is sitting has a zoomorphic base which has lion paws in its lower part and it is believed to be reference to St. Mark’s Lion.There are ten saints including St. Alexander, whose wife Barbara has also been portrayed right next to him, as the saint with the same name.


Source/Photographer: The York Project:10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei