Curated by: Giovanni Valagussa
The exhibition presents Lorenzo Lotto's masterpiece, Madonna and Child between Saints John the Baptist and Catherine of Alexandria, signed and dated 1522 and kept in a private collection.
“The scene - explains Giovanni Valagussa, artistic curator of the event - is composed with the characteristic non-conformism of Lorenzo Lotto who arranges the characters almost in contrast with each other, along diagonal lines that cross the space. The central group of Mary with the Child is probably influenced by distant Raphaelesque suggestions, but more generally it reasons on the search for expression of movement and on the possibilities of representing a group in torsion that is built on an approximately pyramidal structure. Typically Lotto is however the disconcerting solution of the small wooden coffin that protrudes at an angle in the foreground and which immediately gives a dramatic thrill to the representation. A reference to the future death of the Child which becomes the key to the reading of the whole scene, explaining the movement of fear that pushes him towards the Mother, who in turn is worried and protective. Under the case there is also a plank also in wood on the edge of which the painter writes signature and date, in a probable identification in the common destiny that seems to evoke an imminent death. On the sides there are two saints. John the Baptist pointing towards the Child and dramatically indicating his future: Ecce agnus Dei. And Saint Catherine who in the tradition of the mystical marriage represents the Church, continuer of the earthly presence of Christ, but accompanied by martyrdom remembered by the hook wheel.
A very rare presence is instead the squirrel, from which the Child seems to withdraw in terror: the most probable explanation is that it was thought that the squirrel was able to sense the arrival of storms in advance, going to take refuge in his lair. So he imagined a sort of ability to predict the future, which is therefore exactly what the Child tries to flee from, as in a prediction of the Oration in the Garden. Our painting is almost certainly the same as seen by Francesco Maria Tassi at the end of the eighteenth century in the Pezzoli house in Bergamo. Therefore it confirms a provenance from the beginning for a client from Bergamo unknown to us and some subsequent passages in the city collections, up to the arrival in the current family, probably at the beginning of the nineteenth century ".