Saint Stephen Stoned

I am not very familiar with the work of Lorenzo Lotto, but what I had seen of it didn’t leave me panting for more…until today!  At the Metropolitan, I saw this panel depicting the martyrdom of Saint Stephen and was knocked out by it.  Those two guys on the left, lounging and bored by it all.  Their staffs are perfectly parallel, pointing heavenwards: the one in armor is missing a greave (leg armor) and his legging is flapping out.  The dog just in the middle of a leap.  The entire landscape, a hillside, seemingly tilted, as if in sympathy with the cosmic outrage being perpetrated.  The killers, in various stages of the lift, wind-up, and pitch of the deadly projectiles…

4 Responses to Saint Stephen Stoned

  1. Ducky's here says:

    Early mannerism as we leave the Renaissance and say goodbye to art that could get us down on our knees.

    • Lichanos says:

      Wow! You’re a full-blown member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood! Wouldn’t have classed Lotto as a Mannerist – don’t think he is by most histories – but if the PRB is your lodestar, well, then…

      But yeah, it invites participation in its ‘fictive narrative space,’ if I may be so moderno-critico, and has moved far from the ‘iconic’ quality of earlier works. Overall, I share your bias, but I liked this picture a lot anyway.

      • Ducky's here says:

        Not a full blown mannerist to be sure but you can see the formalism creeping in with works like Sts Thomas Aquinas and Flavian, Sts Peter the Martyr and Vitus. It’s also apparent in his later Pieta.

        But then the PRB has it’s own problems — starting with women.

        • Lichanos says:

          Well, I don’t want to get into a debate over critical terms: you don’t like him, you don’t like him. If you want to find something not to like in this painting, get a load of the left foot of the kneeling saint!

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