Saint Justina with a Donor by Moretto da Brescia

Saint Justina with a Donor by Moretto da Brescia (c.1530)

Alessandro Bonvicino more commonly known as Moretto da Brescia was born around 1498 at Rovato, a town in the province of Brescia in Lombardy. He studied first under Fioravante Ferramola of Brescia and later with Titian in Venice.    He was the leading Brescia painter of the day and concentrated his works on religious subjects mainly producing altarpieces and other religious works.  The human figure in his paintings is somewhat slender and expressions are intently religious.  The backgrounds of his paintings tended to be of a radiant quality.  He was a very religious person and use to prepare himself before embarking on a work of sacred art by prayer and fasting. 

Today’s offering in My Daily Art Display is Moretto’s St Justina with a Donor which he painted around 1530 and was one of the major works of the Northern Italian High Renaissance.  This picture is one which I saw when I visited the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna. 

In this painting the union between a religious subject, in this case Saint Justina, and the figure of a patron has been brought to such a self-contained yet intimate whole.  Although in essence it is a devotional picture there emanates a feeling of a pastoral love scene.  Saint Justina is revered as the patron saint of Padua and is shown holding the martyr’s palm,  standing besides the unicorn.  Moretto merges the legendary figure of a sorcerer, who was converted by Justina, into the donor of the painting.  He gazes up at the saint with an enraptured reverence that seems to have affected even the unicorn.  The influence of Raphael is clearly evident in the statuesque, suspended form of the beautiful saint and Moretto was often alluded to as the Raphael of Brescia.

 Have you a favourite painting which you would like to see on My Daily Art Display?  

If so, let me know and tell me why it is a favourite of yours and I will include it in a future offering.