“The Marches has always been considered a land “to conquer” by Tuscan, Venetian and Umbrian artists, a place unable to generate local prominent personalities and unable to produce an independent and unique style. The arrival in the region of painters like Carlo and Vittore Crivelli and, later, Lorenzo Lotto, has thus been seen as a sort of more or less voluntary exile from bigger and more dynamic towns such as Venice and Rome. But the in-depth analysis of the territory has allowed to change this view: as a matter of fact, the region beckoned those artists, persuading them to settle and to start a fruitful exchange with local masters, depositaries of craftsmen’s ancient traditions. Their encounter led to a peculiar Renaissance based on the love for materials and for gold, the display of richness and formal elegance that was mainly intense in inland towns and villages that, at the time, were the keystone of the Italian economy.”
Polittico di San Domenico (1508) – Trasfigurazione (1512) – San Giacomo Pellegrino (1512 c.) – Annunciazione (1527/1529)
The long relationship between Lorenzo Lotto and The Marches began in Recanati and lasted till the end of the painter’s life. In 1506 the fathers of the Church of San Domenico asked him to paint a big polyptych that was accomplished two years later, in 1508. The “Transfiguration” painted for the Church of Santa Maria di Castelnuovo and the “San Giacomo Pellegrino” (St. James the pilgrim), instead, date back to around 1512, when Lotto was in Rome, working with Raphaël to the Vatican Rooms. Initially, the “Transfiguration” included a predella of which two sections are kept in the Hermitage and in the Brera museums. The “San Vincenzo Ferrer in Gloria”, in the Church of San Domenico, is slightly subsequent to the above-mentioned paintings and it is the only fresco produced by Lotto in this region. Around 1530 Lotto returned to Recanati where he painted the famous “Annunciation” for the Oratorio of Santa Maria dei Mercanti. All his paintings are nowadays kept in the municipal gallery, the Museo Civico Villa Colloredo Mels, except for the fresco which is still in its original location: the Church of San Domenico.
Museo Civico Villa Colloredo Mels
Via Gregorio XII
Tel. and fax: +39 071 7570410
Fresco of San Vincenzo Ferrer in gloria (1513)
Chiesa di San Domenico - Piazza Giacomo Leopardi
Tourist Office – Town hall of Recanati Tel/Fax +39 071 981471
La Madonna del Rosario e i quindici Misteri (1539)
The “Madonna del Rosario” in Cingoli dates back to the second sojourn of Lorenzo Lotto in The Marches. This work was commissioned by the local “Confraternita del Rosario”, a brotherhood residing in the Church of San Domenico. The painting is signed L. LOTVS and bears the date 1539 in Roman numbers. It is kept in the church of San Domenico. This work (389x265 cm) is considered one of Lotto’s masterpieces. Reading the painting from top to bottom and from left to right, you can see: the five Joyful Mysteries (the Annunciation of the Lord to Mary; the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth; the Nativity; the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple; the Finding in the Temple), the five Sorrowful Mysteries (the Agony of Jesus in the Garden; the Scourging at the Pillar; the Crowning with Thorns; the Carrying of the Cross; the Crucifixion), and the five Glorious Mysteries (the Resurrection of Jesus; the Ascension into Heaven; the Descent of the Holy Spirit; the Assumption of Mary into Heaven; the Coronation of Mary).
Church of San Domenico – Piazzale G. Mestica
Information and Visits: Biblioteca comunale (the Town Library), Via Mazzini, 10
Tel. +39 0733 602877
Ufficio ATC – Pro-loco Cingoli: Tel. +39 0733 602444
La Madonna con il Bambino (1470)
On the back of the “Madonna with Child”, written on a piece of canvas you can read: "KAROLUS CRIVELLUS VENETUS PINXIT 1470 FERMIS" (Painted by the Venetian Carlo Crivelli in Fermo in 1470). The dimensions of the work are 59 x 40 cm. This painting is exhibited in the art gallery of Macerata and is the surviving part of a bigger composition of paintings. The child hugging the Virgin Mary recalls a fresco of Giovanni Angelo di Antonio formerly painted in a niche of Villa Malvezzi in Bolognola, and nowadays kept in the municipal gallery of Camerino. In Crivelli’s work you can see several elements that are identical to the above-mentioned fresco: the shape of the Virgin Mary’s veil, the cuff on the child’s sleeve, the direction of the Virgin’s glance addressed to worshipper and even the drape on the seatback of the throne. Crivelli shows his great ability in observing the world and makes more realistic and persuading the way Mary embraces the child stretching towards her. In fact, she grasps his leg with the left hand and sustain his thigh with the right one. Crivelli’s solution is then more natural compared with the traditional style of Gerolamo di Giovanni. But the identical iconography represents an evidence of their encounter. Probably the two artists met in Padua around 1450.
Via Don Minzoni, 24
Tel/fax +39 0733 256361
The characters of this “Pietà” crowd the very foreground of the painting: the Virgin Mary, Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint John the Evangelist surround Jesus Christ’s dead body, half wrapped up in a ochre sheet. The gesture of the Virgin Mary leaning her face on her son’s cheek is very touching and also the intertwining of arms involving Jesus, Mary and the Magdalene (who seems to be kissing the stigmata on Jesus Christ’s’ right hand) is really beautiful. The original provenance of this painting in unknown and the bibliography about it very scarce: after a first mention by Federico Zeri in 1961, it entered the Muti-Bussi collection of “Cassa di Risparmio di Macerata”, and finally passed to the foundation of the same name.
Palazzo Ricci – Fondazione CARIMA
Via Domenico Ricci, 1
Tel. + 39 0733 261487/84
La Madonna che allatta il Bambino
The “Madonna Nursing the Child” was first mentioned in an inventory in 1727. It was described as placed on a side altar in the no more existing Church of S. Maria di Gesù. It is still visible the pointed cusp of the board and it was probably the central piece of a polyptych. The other boards are lost. The Virgin is sitting on a large marmoreal throne finely decorated with zoomorphic elements on the upper part. Behind her, the traditional holy cloth arises but its opulent decoration vanished completely. Virgin Mary’s head is crowned and surrounded by a golden halo. It is covered with a series of veils: from the very thin one around her face, to the one decorated and fringed, to the pure white one fastened to the crown. Thanks to the presence of that particular fringed shawl, we can date the work after 1470 and consider it subsequent to the polyptych in Porto San Giorgio, where this iconographic element is absent. The Madonna wears a large red dress, tight-fitting on her waist, and a magnificent cape enriched with pearls and with a precious liturgical jewel. The child, depicted during his breastfeeding, is hanging on to her mother’s cape and glances at the observer. This is one of the many daring perspectives that characterize Carlo Crivelli’s work. Surrounded by Cherubs’ heads, the Divine group stands out for a renovated dialogue between Mother and Child. As a matter of fact, the Madonna is depicted in the act of firmly containing the child’s liveliness.
Pinacoteca Parrocchiale (Parish gallery)
Via Cavour 52/54 - Corridonia (MC)
Tel. +39 0733 431832 (Parish of SS. Pietro, Paolo e Donato)
Ticket price and opening hours: free entrance, booking compulsory
MONTE SAN GIUSTO
If you want to admire “The most beautiful Renaissance representation of Golgotha”, as it was described by the art historian Bernard Berenson, you can do it in Monte San Giusto, in the Church of Santa Maria in Telusiano. The “Crucifixion” of Lorenzo Lotto was commissioned by the bishop Niccolò Bonafede. Most of the work was presumably painted in Venice where the painter lived at the time, whereas it was probably completed in Monte San Giusto, at least for the portrait of the customer that is kneeling down in the left bottom of the painting. This altarpiece is still surrounded by an architectural frame from the 16th century that was drawn by Lotto himself. The painting is dated and signed: “Lotus 1531”.
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà o Telusiano
Vicolo Arancio, 10 - Monte San Giusto (MC)
Town Hall Tel. +39 0733 839005/06/07
The altarpiece of Assunta
On 16th November 1547 Giacomo Boninfanti from Mogliano, administrator of the assets of the Church of Santa Maria di Piazza, met Lorenzo Lotto in Venice and asked him to realise a painting for a high altar. He gave him 130 golden Italian Scudi for the painting and for a wooden frame sketched by Lotto and that carved by the Venetian Bartolomeo da San Cassiano. Then, in June 1548, the people in Mogliano discovered the new painting which was assembled and put in the appointed place by the painter Durante Nobili from Caldarola (according to the master’s assignment). The subject of this work is the apparition of the Madonna to the saints John the Baptist, Anthony of Padua, Mary Magdalene and Joseph, all represented in the foreground and praying the Mother of Jesus Christ that is hovering above magnificent clouds with Angels and Cherubs.
Chiesa di S. Maria di Piazza
Piazza Garibaldi - Mogliano (MC)
Madonna adorante il Bambino con angeli musicanti
The “Madonna adoring the Child with Musical Angels” represents the Virgin Mary, richly dressed, in the act of adoring the Infant Jesus at her feet. Behind her, two angels are playing a lyre and a lute, respectively. Two bunches of symbolic fruits hang down the architrave: on the left there are an apple (the original sin), a cucumber (the Resurrection) and cherries (the fruits of Paradise). On the right you can see the pomegranate, symbol of the ones under the unique authority (the Church) and grapes, symbol of Christ’s blood. In the upper part, a blue and gold cloud of Cherubs surrounds the Virgin’s head. In the lower part, some Seraphs support the Infant Jesus and the Mother herself. This painting distinguishes itself for its rich decoration, notably for the Virgin’s cape, where you can notice the typical motif made of polylobated roses and pomegranates and also for the thin pattern on her salmon pink dress, hemmed with gold. This painting, formerly considered quite mediocre by critics like Cavalcaselle and Testi, was then reevaluated by Luigi Serra who defined it as “one of the most delicate and luxurious works of Vittore Crivelli”.
Via Giacomo Leopardi, 179
Tel. (biblioteca comunale): +39 0733 659923 - Municipio Tel. +39 0733 659911
MONTE SAN MARTINO
CARLO E VITTORE CRIVELLI
Polittico di Monte San Martino
The polyptych, traditionally attributed to the late partnership of the Crivelli brothers, comes from the no longer used Church of San Michele Arcangelo. The work represents the Madonna sitting on her throne while worshipping the Child, placidly sleeping on her knees. The panel, attributed to Vittore Crivelli, shows his brother Carlo’s influence on his style, although the figure doesn’t have the same plastic elegance and energy as the models. The ancient as a learned element of the decoration is used in the representation of the throne and of symbolic floral and vegetal elements. On the sparkling golden background, the lawn in bloom and the hedge emerge and introduce the first naturalist elements which are typical of the Renaissance style. The “Polittico di Monte San Martino” has been neglected by the critics for a long time, but it is of great importance for the research about the two brothers’ partnership and about the relationship between Carlo and his assistants.
Chiesa di San Martino
ProLoco Monte San Martino
Tel. +39 0733 660514
The original polyptych comes from the Church of the Arcangelo or, maybe, from the Church of San Martino where it remained till 13th Century on the high altar. The upper part is nowadays missing. The date of its accomplishment (1490) and the Venetian painter Vittore Crivelli’s autograph are partly visible. However, it is doubted whether the panel is part of this work or not. In the middle of this triptych the crowned Madonna is seated on her throne while keeping the Infant Jesus sitting on a cushion on her knees. The Child is depicted while blessing and looking at the above panel where the Crucifixion is represented. Crucifixion is also announced by the robin he is keeping in his left hand. According to tradition, the robin had its breast stained by removing a thorn from Jesus’s crown of thorns. On both sides of the throne two archangels are peeping out from behind a hedge: they are St. Michael, the Death Angel and Weigher of Souls, and St. Gabriel, the Messenger of Life announcing the Redeemer’s birth to the Vergin. In the background, on a golden reredos, a pomegranate (symbol of the Church and rebirth) and an apple (symbol of the Original sin) are hanging down a reed. The scene of the Crucifixion is set in a fantasy landscape and, on the upper side, a golden stripe underlines the distance between Earth and Heaven. The sorrowful Magdalene is embracing the Cross and, at Jesus’s feet, Mary and John are crying. In the golden sky three seraphs are collecting the blood gushing from the Redeemer’s lesions. The golden background together with the luxuriant lawn, which is a typical feature of the detailed Naturalism of the international Gothic tradition, give cohesion to the lower scene where St. Martin (on the left side) and St. Anthony the Abbot (on the right side) are represented on pedestals, both piously looking at the Virgin and the Child. In spite of the decay caused by the passage of time, the frame pilasters and little pillars are decorated and tempera painted: this is probably due to the fact that Vittore wanted to show himself up-to-date for what concerned the latest cultural issues and oriented towards the Renaissance style.
Chiesa di San Martino
Pro Loco Monte San Martino
Tel. +39 0733 660514
The Polyptych (1489) is autographed at the bottom of the Virgin’s throne and it comes from the Church of “Santa Maria del Pozzo”, which is no longer in use. The sacred narrative is framed by segmental arches. The traditional golden background is replaced by a grey sky which lightens on the horizon. In the middle, the Madonna is sitting on her throne holding up the Child while he is standing up on her knees and looking at St. Peter to give him the Keys of Heaven. Some flowers are hanging down the throne: on the one side a bunch of red carnations, which symbolize the Church and Christ’s Incarnation and Passion; on the other side some white roses, emblem of the Virgin and of motherhood. On the above panel the Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) is represented, surrounded by the Instruments of the Passion: a lance, a sponge on a reed and the whips. On the right and on the left (upper side) St. Michael Archangel and St. Martin on horseback are depicted half-lenght. Next to the Virgin St. Peter and St. Paul are represented with the Book and the Keys (St. Peter) and the sword (St. Paul). In the tympanum, between two horns of plenty, there is the shroud with the image of Christ wearing the crown of thorns. According to the accurate description made in 1834 by Amico Ricci, a historian from Macerata, the altarpiece formerly included a no longer existing predella, which was decorated with stories and minute figures. The polyptych is of great importance for what concerns the adoption of the Renaissance rules both in the characters’ representation and in the architectural and decorative design of the frame. The twisted columns are replaced by linear ones, the polylobed pointed arches are replaced by round arches, the spires and pinnacles are replaced by an architrave and a tympanum.
Chiesa di San Martino
ProLoco Monte San Martino
Tel. +39 0733 660514
Do not miss
If you want to know more:
On the web: www.lorenzolotto.info
The Film “Lorenzo Lotto. Uno spirito inquieto”: www.mymovies.it/trailer/?id=73668