Altarpiece of the Halberd, 1539

pala alabarda

Altarpiece of the Halberd, 1539 - Ancona

In this work painted in Ancona, Lorenzo Lotto matched religious aspects with important iconographical elements linked to the history of the town and to the origin of its Church. Surrounding the Virgin and Jesus, Saint Stephen and Lawrence are wearing ecclesiastical clothing reminiscant of the origins of the above-mentioned Church, while Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Simon the Zealot represent the more recent history. Saint John is holding a pen and the book of Apocalypse. Simon the Zealot is holding an upside down halberd pointed at thetip; this represents the defeat of the Apostles and the restoration of the Patricians in the administration of the town of Ancona. In this work, a pleasant conversation between the figures is replaced by a subtle psycological twine of gazes, gestures, and unsaid meanings. All of which are signs of an increasingly sour and polemic religious atmosphere hanging between innovation and tradition.

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