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Andrea Previtali: 'Salvator Mundi'

The image of the 'Salvator Mundi' (Saviour of the World) was popular in Venice and here Christ is shown with a crystal orb, symbolising royal dominion. The orb is surmounted by a cross. Christ blesses us with two raised fingers of his right hand, the shadow of which falls on his chest.

This picture is signed and dated 1519. Previtali was a pupil of Giovanni Bellini. By this date he was working in Bergamo and the picture was probably made for a private patron in that city.

Previtali painted a number of other pictures of this traditional subject, including another 'Salvator Mundi' in the collection. The strength of the tradition in Venice can be appreciated by considering this picture in relation to Antonello's version of the same subject, 'Christ Blessing'. Both ultimately derive from Netherlandish prototypes circulating in Italy.


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