The two paintings by Cariani – the Saint Catherine and the Saint Stephen – came to the Accademia Carrara in 1866 from the collection of Guglielmo Lochis, who had purchased them in 1837. They were originally made for an altar in the parish church of Locatello in the Valle Imagna, in the province of Bergamo. The complex was also home to the Saint James the Greater, which was in the Petrobelli Collection in Bergamo towards the middle of the nineteenth century, where it presumably remained until the death of Antonio Petrobelli (1864), Lodovico’s son, who had begun to disperse his father’s collection a few years previously. The whereabouts of this third painting in the twentieth century is uncertain: reported to be in the Italico Brass Collection in Venice between the wars, it was shown by the antiquarian Pietro Scarpa at the Biennale dell’Antiquariato in Florence in 1975.
After almost two centuries, it is at last possible to reunite the Saint James with its companion pieces at the Accademia Carrara. These have been restored for the occasion and the triptych painted by the Bergamo-born artist between 1528 and 1530 has been reunited in the museum galleries. The event makes it possible to recover one of Cariani’s mature works and to add another small element to our understanding of one of the artist’s lesser known periods. Having trained in Venice in the shadow of Giorgione and alongside Sebastiano del Piombo, Cariani was one of the leading figures in Venetian paintings on the mainland.