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Madonna and Child
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16th Century
Madonna and Child
[Madonna con Bambino]
Oil on canvas
63.5 x 69 cm  [HxW]
Palazzo Bianco, Genova

Alessandro Bonvicino, the Lombard painter known as Moretto, was one of the leading Renaissance artists in Northern Italy. His painting combined the influence of Venetian emphasis on colour with the robust realism found in Lombard tradition and, at the same time, it shows a considerable interest in perspective. He worked in the Veneto region and in the most important cities in Lombardy, and was much appreciated for his altar paintings and portraits. In 1521–24, he worked with Romanino on a chapel in the important church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Brescia. Moretto’s style differs from that of his colleague in that it follows the lessons learnt from Titian more closely and brings in elements of Central-Italian classicism. His stylistic approach can be compared with that of another important Renaissance master who was active in that period in nearby Bergamo: Lorenzo Lotto, a friend and admirer of his.

This Madonna and Child is not signed, but it does contain stylistic qualities which enable it to be attributed with certainty to the painter. The work combines remarkable colouristic sensitivity, close to the preciosity of Venetian artists, and a lively naturalism. The Madonna and the Child are, one might say, portrayed in a moment of humanity, with no concession to courtly attitudes or statuesque forms.

Roberta Dadda

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