Palazzo Marino, Tiziano

Now in its tenth edition, the traditional Christmas appointment with the art of Palazzo Marino returns to Sala Alessi with a masterpiece by Titian, the majestic altarpiece “Sacra conversation 1520 (Pala Gozzi)” from the Civic Art Gallery “Francesco Podesti” of Ancona.

The possibility of admiring the back of the large altarpiece (oil on panel, 312 x 215 cm) will allow you to discover how these works were made in the sixteenth century, which have had such importance and diffusion in the history of art in our country.

Painted in 1520 by the then thirty-year-old Titian for the Dubrovnik merchant Luigi Gozzi, and destined for the main altar of the church of San Francesco ad Alto in Ancona, the “Sacra Conversazione” is the first signed and dated painting by Titian known to us: in fact, in a scroll at the bottom we read ALOYXIUS GOTIUS RAGOSINUS / FECIT FIERI / MDXX / TITIANUS CADORINUS PINSIT.

The table is a decisive stage in the emergence of a new form of altarpiece, free from the architectural and perspective schemes of the fifteenth century. A revolution that had been intuited by Leonardo with the Virgin of the Rocks, continued by Raphael, but interpreted by Titian with a spirit open to nature.

The work belongs to the traditional iconographic genre of the altarpiece defined as ‘Holy Conversation’: the Madonna and Child suddenly appears in a sky of vibrantly moving clouds, inflamed by the magical light of the sunset; below they contemplate in amazement the vision of San Francesco, to whom the church that housed the altarpiece was dedicated, and San Biagio protector of the Dalmatian city, which indicates to the kneeling client the celestial apparition. Immersed in a warm real light, an unrepeatable landscape, where the visual relationships between the characters stand out in the foreground: each looks at someone up to the Infant Jesus who in turn points his gaze on the outside, on the viewer, thus called to be active part of the work itself. In the background of the representation, clearly visible, the basin of San Marco with the Doge’s Palace and its well-known bell tower.

A grandiose painting that unites Venice, Ancona and Dubrovnik: Titian seems to suggest an alliance between the three most important ports on the Adriatic, against the backdrop of political turbulence on Italian soil and Ottoman expansionism.

The back of the table presents some pencil sketches, partly shaded with a brush, made by Titian himself and depicting various heads, one of which could be the sketch for the Child in a first draft of the painting.

To enhance the masterpiece even more, was the lighting system by the architect Francesco Murano, who used the technique of mixed light, obtained by combining different color temperatures, and favored a particularly brilliant vision of colors with the projectors Anub Luum®.