Lorenzo Costa the Younger
The Holy Family with St. Francis, c. 1575
oil on canvas
53 x 46.3 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with the assistance of the Women's Committee
Born in Mantua, Lorenzo Costa trained first with his father Ippolito Costa, before moving to Rome where he was able to secure decorative work at the Vatican under Federico Zuccaro. In Rome he also found employment with Giovanni Battista Bertani, an architect from Mantua, and worked on a number of altarpieces and decorative commissions. In this charming and intimate portrait of the Holy Family with St. Francis, Costa’s allegiance to the style of Zuccaro is understood. As well, the influence of Frederico Barocci, whose work he was exposed to in Rome, can be detected in the soft modelling of the round-faced figures and the rosy highlights on the flesh. Mary, enthroned and clothed in heavy garments, gingerly holds the Christ Child as the older Joseph, aided by a cane, lends his support. St. Francis kneels before them, his hands clasped in prayerful adoration and resting on Mary’s lap.