ALTHOUGH a Venetian in the essential painting quality, and in a certain voluptuous solemnity, Lorenzo Lotto stands out quite separate from the two great exchangeable earlier Venetians, Giorgione and Titian, and their retinue. Separate, different, shining out in virtue of a more lively composition, more vehement and momentary gesture, a more pathetic, episodic fancy, as of Tasso’s poignant romance compared with the idyllic heroism of Spencer the restless, inventive romance as compared with the lyricsteeped in sentiment and suggestion, he leaves in the mind, with his brilliancy and sort of diagonal vivacity, a sense of discomfort mingled with delight. His pictures can be distinguished from those of other Venetians almost across the width or length of a church. They call one, as with clarion march music, with their vivid, unusual tints. The sapphire blues and geranium reds of the Virgin’s robe; the meadow green and shot orange with which these are balanced; the exquisite rose-color and lilac, which make certain groups of fluttering angels like hyacinth plantations in spring; nay, the whole picture, the lovely ivory-faced Virgin on her throne, the blond St. Sebastian with the first down on his cheeks, the dark, passionate St. Roch, the stately St. Barbaras and St. Catherines, palmed and towered into so many human or celestial flowers. This man loveswhich is uncommon in great paintersbeautiful things, not merely things which look beautiful when painted. His women are exquisite, not merely in hair and skin, but in body and feature, delicately carved of living ivory. His draperies have dyes of gem-like depth and vividness, sapphire blue and marvelous lacquer scarlet; and he studies plants for their beauty, not merely for decoration and suggestion. . . .
Even more noticeable in this highly-strung, over-excitable artist is the romantic, imaginative light in which he sees actions and men, insisting up-on the element of hidden pathos or trouble in all his sitters, and composing his religious pictures, not like the other Venetians, as solemn liturgic pageants, but as rapid, unclutchable visions born of ecstatic hope.
( Originally Published 1904 )
Masters In Art – Lorenzo Lotto:Masters In Art – Lorenzo LottoThe Art Of LottoBernhard Berenson – ‘lorenzo Lotto’Vernon Lee – ‘cosmopolis’ 1896The Works Of Lotto