|Moroni, "Portrait of a Girl"|
|Giovanni Bellini, "Pieta"|
Foremost among them is Giovanni Battista Moroni, who worked not in the wealthy cities of Milan and Venice but in the relative backwater of Bergamo. Even so, Moroni was esteemed by his contemporaries -- Titian is said to have recommended that a couple of Venetians on their way to Bergamo have their likeness painted by him -- and based on the two portraits by Moroni here it is easy to see why. They are so engaging that for awhile it may be hard to look at anything else in the room.
Moroni combined an aggressive realism -- in his portrait of a young girl, for example, the costume, pearls, and red beads of her bracelet are all meticulously rendered -- with a sympathetic intimacy. Both the girl and Moroni's portrait of a man have a direct gaze one can't help but return.
|Foppa, "The Three Crosses"|
Lorenzo Lotto is represented by four works: an ingenious portrait in front of a dark moonscape -- how many nighttime portraits were there in the Renaissance? -- and three brightly colored religious narratives that formed part of an altarpiece for a church in Bergamo.
|Moretto di Brescia, "Christ and a Devotee"|
The history of Italian Renaissance painting tends to concentrate on works in the cities of power and riches -- Rome, Florence, and Venice. The art of Northern Italy has its own delights, as these loans beautifully show.
"Bellini, Titian, and Lotto: North Italian Paintings from the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo," Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Ave. and 82nd St. Through September 3.
Images: Moroni and Bellini (c) 2012 Laura Gilbert. Foppa and Moretto courtesy the Metropolitan Museum.
Text (c) 2012 Laura Gilbert