|Madonna and Child with Saints Catherine and Thomas (Sacred Conversation) by Lorenzo Lotto (1526-28)|
(Venice, Italy) A Masterpiece for Venice is a new initiative that brings exceptional works of the Venetian Renaissance home from abroad for a limited visit. The first painting to sojourn at the Gallerie dell'Accademia is Lorenzo Lotto's vibrant Madonna and Child with Saints Catherine and Thomas (Sacred Conversation) on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
The project was conceived last November by the Gallerie dell'Accademia, together with Intesa Sanpaolo as the main partner, after Venice was hit by high water then clobbered by the global pandemic. The initiative hopes to renew and restore valuable relationships with international museums by shining the spotlight on works that rarely travel, giving visitors the opportunity to feast their eyes on masterpieces from the Venetian Renaissance that are not housed in Venice.
"We decided to ask our museum friends for help to bring attention back to the city," explained Giulio Manieri Elia, the Director of the Accademia. "Beauty helps us move forward. In such a complex moment for everyone, art can be a bridge that unites and uplifts us."
|Sacred Conversation by Lorenzo Lotto (detail) - Photo: Cat Bauer|
Francesca del Torre, curator of Italian painting of the Renaissance at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna was also on hand at the presentation of the masterpiece. "This painting is one of the most beautiful works in the history of Italian art, and one of Lorenzo Lotto's most Venetian works, created during one of his visits to Venice. With spontaneity and brilliant intuition, Lotto captures the characters' intense dialogue and thoughts about the destiny of Jesus, achieving a perfect balance of gazes, gestures, colors and light."
The patrons who commissioned the painting are unknown, but it is assumed they were wealthy and prestigious due to Lotto's use of the extremely costly lapis lazuli pigment for the Madonna's dress. The choice to include Saints Catherine and Thomas in the conversation infers that the clients possibly had the same names as the two saints.
"Ah, in Vienna there is a painting in which you can hear the bees humming."
Philip Pouncey, British art historian
The earliest reference to the painting dates from 1660, when the work was already in the imperial collections. The Sacred Conversation will remain at the Accademia until January 17, 2021. After that, the next masterpiece to visit the lagoon will be Veronese's La Pieta, which will travel to Venice from The Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
Go to the Gallerie dell'Accademia for more information.
Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog