Oil painting on panel, depicting the mystical marriage of Saint Catherine, measuring 62 x 75 cm without frame and 79 x 90 cm with contemporary frame by the painter Polidoro da Lanciano Lanciano 1515 - Venice 1565).
The painting is in a good state of legibility and depicts one of the most popular iconographic subjects in the Christian tradition. presented here following an ancient and tested scheme that wants the child, the Virgin, Saint Catherine and Saint Joseph to be the protagonists of a pleasant devotional representation, the so-called mystical marriage of Saint Catherine.
Mary is caught in a tender attitude towards her son, she is in fact supporting the book that he is leafing through, while worthy of note is the nudity of the child, indispensable to reveal to the onlookers his double nature: the divine one, declared by the brightness emanating from all her body, and the earthly one, likewise testified by her innocent nakedness. The scene is delimited by a green cloth that opens against the background of the sky and a hill.
For the stylistic data, we are faced with the work of a talented master active in the first half of the sixteenth century in northern Italy specifically in the Venetian and lagoon area, as demonstrated by the typological compositional and chromatic characteristics of the table in which precise references to the sixteenth-century Venetian culture, Titian in the first place.
This leads to reconnect this panel to Polidoro da Lanciano (Polidoro de Renzi Lanciano 1510 - Venice 1565) an artist of origin. Abruzzese and pupil of Paolo de Renzi.
The commercial contacts of Lanciano with Venice soon brought our artist to Venice even if we do not know the year. After 1530 he was enrolled in the fraglia of Venetian painters and in the city he came into contact with the best artists of the period, so much so that the sources testify to his close relationship with Titian.
From the art of Vecellio and Jacopo Palma derives the particular and characteristic style of this master, very active and owner, from the thirties onwards of an established painting workshop in Contrada San Pantaleo in the Dorsoduro district in Venice.
The catalog to date consists of works of a devotional nature with sacred conversations in the manner of Titian and Palma the Elder.
This table is also linked to them in which not only the typologies and gestures typical of Polidoro are highlighted but also the creative approach, the brilliance of the colors and the peculiar way of draping as seen in works such as Madonna with child and SS. Caterina, Andrea and Francesco and Holy bishop in Lanciano or Madonna with Tobias and the angel in a private collection. This is a very important iconographic subject in which the co-star of the work is Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the girl of royal lineage, who for these reasons is portrayed with princely clothes and with her hair well intertwined with a string of pearls. The young woman is receiving the wedding ring from Jesus, re-enactment of a vision she had before the martyrdom with the toothed wheel; story that recalls a young Saint Catherine who refusing to idolize pagan idols for her Christian faith is forced to undergo numerous tortures including the toothed wheel, but she was then miraculously saved from a thunderbolt thrown by the Lord which destroyed the terrible instrument of torture.
Here we can speak of an elegant figurative lexicon at times even renewed as revealed by the particular physiognomies of the characters, the bright yet balanced colors and the whimsical slightly eccentric ductus in which the slightly elongated forms, the timbre hues and the evanescent breaks also stand out.
This interesting work is in a good state of conservation and was performed with an accurate oil painting technique made with light and decisive overlapping strokes of color and spread with the tip of the brush to accentuate the contrasts of light and shadow in the drapery; the pleasant and gratifying final result was obtained with the use of a range of warm and suitably balanced colors.
We can find the same artistic sense of our table and also the compositional setting, the brilliance of the warm colors and the characteristic drapery also in the Madonna and Child Enthroned and the Saints. Giovanni Evangelista and Nicola from the Castle Museum in L'Aquila.
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