Giovanni Agostino da Lodi
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints

Circa 1500-1504
Location: Church of St. Peter Martyr, Murano, Italy
Provenance: Church of St. Christopher of Peace (now demolished), San Michele Island, Venetian Lagoon

The blue for Mary's mantle is a tradition of long standing. By Lodi's time it had also become traditional to picture the child naked and to have St. George in a suit of armor. The dragon is unusual, however: a squat creature with a most regretful look on its face.

St. John the Baptist's portrait is also somewhat out of the ordinary. The inner garment is turned hair-side-in. The red of his mantle is a common feature in his portraits, but it may be significant that it is so vivid and that it is repeated in St. George's ribbons, the Madonna's robe, the shirt on the putto on the plinth, and some parts of the left bishop's vesture. Even the putti above the Madonna have red wings. John's pointing gesture usually directs attention to Christ, but here he seems to be pointing to St. George, with his red cross.

The roundel on the small plinth between the bishops pictures St. Christopher carrying the Christ Child. Christopher was the namesake of the church for which this painting was created.

The dates given above are those of paintings da Lodi is known to have produced while in Venice. For most of his life he resided and worked in Lombardy. The Web Gallery of Art dates the painting as 1510. (See the Gallery's page for da Lodi.) I have drawn the title from the Gallery; the church's guide book calls it Madonna with Child on Throne among St. John the Baptist, two bishops, St. George and the Dragon, St. Christopher in the circle.

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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.