The Holy Family with a Lamb

The principal work in this gallery is a sculpture of Aphrodite, which is a reduced-scale, Roman copy of a celebrated lost original of the 5th century BC. For its part, the brief period of perfect, classical harmony summarised in Raphael’s Holy Family with the Lamb finds a gentler echo in Andrea del Sarto’s tiny Saint John the Baptist with the Lamb, while the Venetian taste for colour, atmosphere and sumptuousness is fully expressed in Veronese’s The Finding of Moses. Venetian innovations in chiaroscuro, in the form of nocturnal scenes and daring contrasts of light and shade, are evident in Jacopo Bassano’s Adoration of the Shepherds and Christ crowned with Thorns by his son Leandro. The latter is painted on a slate panel, also used by Sebastiano del Piombo for works such as Christ bearing the Cross with its sombre and melancholy tonal range that would be imitated on panel by Luis de Morales. The characteristically Mannerist use of elongated fi gures, distorted, artifi cial poses and acidic colours is found in various north Italian works, including Mazzuchelli’s oil sketch on paper of The Betrothal of the Virgin and Cerano’s Rest on the Flight into Egypt. The dawn of classicising naturalism at the start of the 17th century is represented here by two of its leading exponents: Annibale Carracci with The Virgin and Child with Saint John, and Guido Reni with a martyrdom and glory of Saint Apollonia.

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