Madonna and Child with Two Donors
Framed by richly draped fabric, the Virgin Mary tenderly sits Christ on her lap. The couple who commissioned the panel look up at the child, meeting his eyes as he rewards their piety with a blessing. As the symbol of Christ's resurrection, the fig branch growing behind the curtain also reassures the donors of their own redemption.
In the late 1400s, well-to-do families often commissioned such pictures for hanging in the home or the private chapel of a church. These panels served both as portraits and as testimonies to the donors' religious devotion.
Lorenzo Lotto emphasized the contrast between the earthly and the spiritual realms by using a highly naturalistic style for the couple and a more ideal, poetic rendering for the Virgin and child. With a flair for color betraying his Venetian origins, Lotto contrasted Mary's luminous blues and reds with the donors' more somber clothing.
The J. Paul Getty Museum