Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, circa 1555 - Museum - Ancient Treasure of the Holy House of Loreto
Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus ‘childhood , narrated by Luke , is considered the last work of Lotto, left interrupted by his death, a true masterpiece , as an artistic and spiritual ” testament “. It was created by the painter in Loreto after the act of oblation to the Holy House in 1554, in the last years of his life, when he had become almost blind. The compositional structure is quite complex, resulting from the superposition of two sections: the Jewish Temple of Solomon in which the Presentation takes place and the Marian basilica of Loreto which shows an old bearded man, the last self-portrait of the great artist . It can not be excluded that the upper section of the painting, depicting a room with wooden stalls, refers to the ancient Chapel of the Choir of the sanctuary, where the seven paintings by Lorenzo Lotto were on display. Three priests receive the Messiah, arranged one behind the other, a representation of the same character in three distinct stages of life. The old man Simeon is the representative of the time of the Old Testament, followed by a middle-aged rabbi placed to witness the Jewish religion, culminating in a young cleric, the ultimate expression of a theological system which recognises the matrix from Jewish monotheism. At the centre of the picture is a square altar, covered with a white tablecloth and nothing upon it, supported by four feet similar to human ones which could signify the body of Christ itself and his sacrifice on the cross. The altar, in fact, in liturgical symbolism represents Christ and the feet, figured stationary or moving , in literature and in the same biblical text are frequently used to recall the whole human being.