Artibus et Historiae no. 9 (V)

1984, ISSN 0391-9064

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ALESSANDRA OTTIERI - The Venetian Lagoon and the Sea of Galilee: The Calling of the Sons of Zebedee by Marco Basaiti

The canvas signed and dated 1510 is now in the Accademia in Venice. It was meant for the main altar of St. Andrea della Certosa in Venice and contains references to monastic traditions of the Carthusian order (the themes of the cage as volontary retreat bringing salvation, and of the imitiation of Christ by choosing martyrdom) as well as the election of the Carthusian Patriarch Antonio Suriano, the probable sponsor of the painting who wanted to respond by it to criticisms raised of his election and, as summarized in a letter from Blessed Paolo Giustiniano found in a monastery near Frascati. The Calling of the Sons of Zebedee shows how the humblest may be an example to their brothers even accepting responsibilities apparently in contradiction with their initial choice of solitude. The theme of the cage is also analyzed with reference to other examples found in the mosaic in the apse of St. Clement's Church in Rome and in other contemporary paintings of the Venetian school.

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