Works Of Lotto


IN a letter dated April 19, 1543, Lotto speaks of two half-length portraits upon which he was then at work, one representing “Messer Febo da Brescia,” and the other his wife, “Madonna Laura da Pola.” These paintings were completed in the following spring, and in all probability are the companion pictures now in the Brera Gallery, Milan, of which that of the lady is reproduced .

Madonna Laura (if the attribution may be accepted) is richly dressed in a gown of dark silk with a gold chain about her waist. Red drapery covers a high-backed chair behind her, and at one side is a red curtain. She wears an embroidered head-dress, and around her throat a necklace of pearls. In one hand she holds a prayer-book, and in the other a fan of ostrich plumes.

The portrait is painted in a broad and masterly manner with delicate gradations of light and shade and subtle atmospheric effect. “There is harmony in every part,” write Crowe and Cavalcaselle; “in true contrasts of tint, in true balance of chiaroscuro, and in modeled relief.”

The picture measures three feet high by two and a half feet wide.


THIS picture, in the Imperial Gallery, Vienna, is the only existing `Santa Conversazione’ (Holy Conversation), as such compositions are sometimes called, which Lotto painted in the style of Palma, though Palma’s influence is clearly marked in the works of one period of his career.

In an open and sunny landscape the Madonna, in a pale blue dress falling in billowy folds about her feet, is seated beneath an oak-tree. Behind her an angel, with golden hair and rose-colored draperies, holds a crown of blossoms above her head. The Child raises one hand in blessing, and with the other turns the pages of a book held by St. Catherine who kneels before him, richly dressed in a green robe. Beside her is St. James the Elder, in a gray tunic and red over-garment.

“There is no picture by Lotto,” write Crowe and Cavalcaselle, “in which better grouping or a more delicate feeling of worship are found, where clearness of flesh is more purely allied to transparent gaiety of tinting, where harmony and sparkle are more intimately united to charms of expression and movement.”

The picture was painted in 1527-28. It measures about three feet eight inches high by nearly four feet wide.


THIS picture, in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Mercanti, Recanati, was painted in 1527-28. In execution it is one of Lotto’s best works; the painting is delicate and the lights and shadows skilfully managed, while in its interpretation of the sacred subject a curiously modern note is struck; —the Virgin in her humble surroundings is represented simply as a woman, thoroughly human in look and mien, and not as the mystical bride of heaven invested with supernatural attributes. Startled by the appearance of the announcing angel, who has suddenly alighted in her chamber (his outspread wings, bluish green in color, his fluttering blue drapery and streaming flaxen hair all bespeaking his rapid flight), she has turned from her prayers, awe-struck by the message that he brings.

The details of the scene are admirably rendered. “Carpaccio himself,” says Mr. Berenson, “never painted a better interior than this bedroom of the Virgin’s.” The bed with its white coverlet is curtained with green ; books and a candle-stick stand on a shelf upon the wall. A cat, terrified by the presence of the angel, scampers across the floor. Through a broad opening is seen a parapet, and beyond, a garden in which green vines and dark cypress-trees stand out against a pale blue sky.

The picture is on canvas and measures five feet four inches high by three feet nine inches wide.


IN this picture, one of the most charming of Lotto’s works, the Madonna, seated before a parapet over which a Turkish carpet is hung, holds the Child towards the kneeling St. Catherine that he may place the marriage ring upon her finger. An angel stands at one side, and at the other Messer Niccolô di Bonghi, in whose house at Bergamo the picture was seen by the “Anonimo,” an unknown writer of the sixteenth century, generally supposed to be Marcantonio Michiel, a wealthy art amateur of that day.

This is a picture of rare charm,” writes Mr. Berenson. “St. Catherine’s features are not remarkably beautiful, but the Madonna is one of the loveliest women ever painted. The grace of their movements is so simple and natural that we shall scarcely find elsewhere in Italian art anything better. They are both dressed in ample robes, with a great deal of shining dam-ask silk, producing a dazzling effect. . St. Catherine has pearls in her hair, and is clad altogether as a lady of her time; her features, indeed, lead us to suspect a portrait. The Child, with his `grown-up’ way of ceremoniously placing the ring on St. Catherine’s finger, is a trifle comic. This other-wise perfect composition is somewhat marred by the too obtrusive presence of Niccolô di Bonghi, who evidently insisted on being placed where he could be well seen. . . . The coloring is perhaps a trifle too dazzling, the scarlets and flashing whites being both too highly pitched for each other’s comfort.”

Ridolfi tells us that when the French occupied Bergamo this picture was placed in the Church of San Michele for safety, but that not even in that sacred place was it secure from the vandalism of the soldiers, one of whom, having been pleased with a view of Mt. Sinai, originally represented in the picture as seen through a window, cut out that portion of the painting and carried it away. This space is now covered by a piece of dark canvas.

The figures in the picture are almost life-size. It is dated 1523, and hangs in the Carrara Collection of the Bergamo Gallery.


” LOTTO painted this altar-piece in 1521 for the Church of San Bernardino, Bergamo, where it is still in its place. As a proof of the value set upon it by the Bergamese, and of the high esteem in which they held the painter who had lived for so many years among them, Tassi tells us that in the year 1591, when the monks of San Bernardino entertained the idea of selling their altar-piece, the town voted to become its purchaser rather than suffer it to be taken away.

Seated upon a draped and throne-like pedestal the Madonna, clad in a bright red robe, expounds to the listening saints about her the glory of the divine Child, who stands upon her knees. On her left are St. John the Baptist pointing to the group above, and St. Anthony Abbot (or Hermit) in a green mantle, leaning upon his crutch, symbol of his age and feebleness, and holding his attribute, the bell, significant of his power to exorcise evil spirits by its sound. On her right stands St. Bernard in the white habit of his order, and beside him St. Joseph, in a yellow mantle, leans upon his pilgrim’s staff. On one of the steps of the rose-strewn pedestal an angel, in orange-colored drapery, writes in a book the words that the Madonna speaks, and in the air above four other angels, bathed in a luminous atmosphere, hold a green curtain which they spread like a canopy over her head.

A similarity has often been remarked between this picture and some of Correggio’s works, noticeable in the daringly foreshortened figures of the flying angels, in the attitude of St. John, and in the soft contrasts with which the gradations of light are conveyed—a similarity the more surprising when it is remembered that in all probability the two painters had no personal knowledge of each other’s works.

Mr. Berenson has pointed out qualities in this altar-piece that show the influence of Lotto’s master, Alvise Vivarini: the gesture of the Madonna’s hand, the figure of St. John—the prototype for which he finds in the compositions of Alvise and his school—and the spreading of the curtain behind the Madonna’s throne. “Faults,” he writes, “this picture has, but, Lotto once granted, they are slight. For a work in which the touch is so dainty and where there is so much movement and feeling, the arrangement is too architectural, the pedestal too massive, and unfortunately the canopy and the angels supporting it make the composition a little top-heavy. In structure, also, the figures leave much to be desired, and the snail-shaped coil of drapery over the Baptist’s left arm is scarcely to be excused. Yet in few other pictures is an idea conveyed to the spectator so directly and through such flower-like line and color.”

The altar-piece is on canvas, and measures about ten feet high by nine feet wide.


THIS portrait of a prothonotary apostolic, or member of the college of ecclesiastics charged with the registry of acts and proceedings relating to canonization, etc., was painted by Lotto in or about the year 1522. It represents a man past middle life standing by a table covered with a Turkish carpet, on which, besides the book that he holds in both hands, lie two letters addressed to himself. He wears a black velvet gown trimmed with ermine, and his head with its smooth gray hair and clear-cut features is relieved against a dark green curtain. Through an open window in the background is seen a landscape with a range of hills and a low horizon. Thoroughly modern in its rendering, “it is,” writes Mr. Berenson, “the quietest of all portraits by Lotto, and—if I may be allowed the word—the most `gentlemanly.’ ”

The picture measures about three feet high by a trifle over two feet wide, and hangs in the National Gallery, London.


ST. ANTONINUS, a member of the Dominican Order of Monks of San Marco, the archbishop of Florence in 1441, and a close friend to Fra Angelico, is here represented seated upon a high throne holding an open scroll in both hands. Angels draw aside heavy red curtains revealing a rose-hedge behind the throne, and above the blue sky dotted with cherubim, while other angels whisper into the ears of the saint, noted for his many deeds of charity, prayers of intercession for the poor who are gathered below. At the feet of Antoninus, behind a balcony hung with an Eastern carpet, stand two deacons distributing alms and receiving petitions from the crowd which eagerly presses forward beneath.

In execution this work is broad and free; the composition is marked by originality, and the coloring, although somewhat dimmed by time, is rich and deep. The faces of the two deacons are full of individuality, and, especially in that of the one receiving petitions, there is much of the psychological interest with which Lotto invests his portraits. The varied and expressive gestures are noteworthy, as is the skill with which the few figures pressed together in the foreground are made to produce the impression of a multitude.

According to an entry in Lotto’s account-book he finished this famous altar-piece for the Dominican Church of San Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, where it still remains, on March 28, 1542. The canvas measures about eleven feet high by seven feet nine inches wide.


ONE of Lotto’s finest and most characteristic portraits is the life-sized one here reproduced, representing a Venetian nobleman. He wears a dark flowing gown brought into relief by the scarlet curtain that forms the back-ground of the picture. His hair and beard are light brown, his eyes blue his face pale. One arm rests upon a table covered with a green cloth, and in one of his white, delicately formed hands is the claw of an animal modeled in gold. “The head,” observes Morelli, “as in all Lotto’s portraits, is full of subtlety, intellect, and distinction.”

The belief that this was the portrait of the celebrated Italian naturalist, Ulysses Aldrovandi, has been proved to be without foundation, for Aldrovandi was but a child of five when in 1527 Lotto painted this picture. It now hangs in the Imperial Gallery, Vienna, where it has been successively attributed to Titian and to Correggio before being justly ascribed, as it now is, to Lotto.


THIS picture, purchased in Bergamo from the late Signor Giovanni Morelli in 1862, and now in the National Gallery, London, represents Agostino della Torre, a professor of medicine in the University of Padua, and Niccold, his brother, who stands behind him. It was painted in the year 1515. Lotto was then temporarily in Venice, and, on his return to Bergamo, where he was at that time living, probably stopped over at Padua, and there painted the portrait of Agostino della Torre. He then took the picture with him to Bergamo and delivered it to Niccolô, who was living in that city. Morelli’s suggestion that Niccolô’s portrait was added as an afterthought seems plausible from the crowded and somewhat awkward composition; but both in technique and in conception this is, nevertheless, one of Lotto’s most vigorous and characteristic works.

It measures two feet nine inches high by two feet three inches wide, and the figures are the size of life.


PAINTED in 1529, when Lotto, then nearly fifty years old, was at the 1 height of his powers, this altar-piece in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, Venice, although in a much ruined condition, gives proof of his mastery in composition and technique. In no other of his works is the influence of Titian so perceptible, for though conception and feeling are thoroughly characteristic of Lotto, the rich reds, delicate whites, and ruddy flesh-tints recall the glowing colors of that Venetian master.

In the upper part of the picture St. Nicholas, a patron saint of Venice and Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor (often called St. Nicholas of Bari, from the place where he was finally buried), is seated between angels, two of whom bear his insignia of office, while a third holds a dish containing purses, emblematic of the saint’s charity in giving three purses of gold to a poor nobleman as dowries for his three daughters. At the feet of the bishop are seated St. John the Baptist in an attitude of prayer, and St. Lucy wearing a green robe and a red mantle. Beside her in a dish are her eyes, which according to the legend she herself plucked out and sent to an importunate lover who had declared that they had captivated his heart. Beneath, in a landscape opening upon the sea, Lotto has painted St. George in combat with the dragon, while the princess, whose life he thus saves, flees towards a castle. Such, however, is the ruined condition of this great altar-piece that these minor details are scarcely distinguishable.

“The incomprehensible neglect in which this masterpiece is still left,” writes Mr. Berenson, “is all the more to be regretted because, everything considered, it seems to have been one of Lotto’s greatest achievements. In few other works has he created types so strong and beautiful, and seldom has his drawing been so firm, his modeling so plastic, and his coloring so glowing and harmonious. The landscape must have been one of the most captivating in Italian painting, and even now, although it is coated with candle-grease, the sweep of its outlines, the harmony of its colors, and the suggestiveness of its lights make an unwonted appeal to the imagination.”

The picture is on canvas and measures nine feet ten inches high by about five feet wide.


AUSTRIA—HUNGARY. BUDAPEST GALLERY: Angel— CRACOW, OWNED BY COUNT PUSLOWSKI: Madonna and Child—VIENNA, IMPERIAL GALLERY: Portrait of a Man with a Claw ; Madonna and Child with Saints; Three Views of a Man —ENGLAND. HAMPTON COURT, ROYAL GALLERY: Portrait of Young Man; Portrait of Andrea Odoni—LONDON, NATIONAL GALLERY: Agostino and Niccold della Torre (Plate Ix); The Prothonotary Juliano (Plate VI); Family Group —LONDON, BRIDGE-WATER HOUSE: Madonna and Saints—LONDON, OWNED BY MRS. MARTIN COLNAGHI: Madonna and Saints—LONDON, OWNED BY SIR W. M. CONWAY: Danaë—LONDON, DORCHESTER HOUSE: Lucretia—WILTON HOUSE, LORD PEMBROKE’S COLLECTION: St. Anthony—FRANCE. NANCY MUSEUM: Portrait of a Man—PARIS, LOUVRE: St. Jerome; Christ and the Adulteress; Recognition of the Holy Child—GERMANY. BERLIN GALLERY: Christ taking leave of His Mother; Portrait of Young Man; St. Sebastian and St. Christopher; Portrait of an Architect—BERLIN, PROF. R. VON KAUFMANN’S COLLECTION: Portrait of a Jeweler—DRESDEN, ROYAL GALLERY: Madonna— HAMBURG, CONSUL WEBER’S COLLECTION: St. Jerome— MUNICH GALLERY: Marriage of St. Catherine—ITALY. ALZANO, PARISH CHURCH: Assassination of St. Peter Martyr—ANCONA GALLERY: Madonna Enthroned—ASOLO, CATHEDRAL: Assumption of the Virgin — BERGAMO GALLERY, CARRARA COLLECTION: Marriage of St. Catherine (Plate Iv); Portrait of a Lady; Predelle to San Bartolommeo Altar-piece —BERGAMO GALLERY, Lochis COLLECTION: Holy Family; Sketches for Predelle of San Bartolommeo Altar-piece—BERGAMO, CHURCH OF SANT’ ALESSANDRO IN COLONNA: Deposition—BERGAMO, CHURCH OF SANT’ ALESSANDRO IN CROCE: The Trinity—BERGAMO, CHURCH OF SAN BARTOLOMMEO: Altar-piece of Madonna and Saints—BERGAMO, CHURCH OF SAN BERNARDINO: San Bernardino Altar-piece—BERGAMO, CHURCH OF SAN MICHELE: (frescos) God the Father; The Visitation; Marriage of the Virgin; Presentation of the Virgin—BERGAMO, CHURCH OF SANTO SPIRITO: Altar-piece of Madonna and Saints—BERGAMO, OWNED BY SIGNOR A. FRIZZONI: Two Angels (frescos)—BERGAMO, OWNED BY SIGNOR PICCINELLI: Madonna and Two Saints—BRESCIA, Tosso GALLERY: Adoration of the Shepherds—CASTELLO DI COSTA DI MEZZATE: Marriage of St. Catherine—CELANO: Assumption of the Virgin—CINGOLI, CHURCH OF SAN DOMENICO: Madonna and Saints in Rose-garden —CREDARO, CHURCH OF SAN GIORGIO: (frescos) God the Father; St. Joseph, Saints and Shepherds; St. Stephen; St. George; St. Catherine and John the Baptist; Annunciation; St. George; St. George and the Princess—FLORENCE, UFFIZI GALLERY: Madonna and Saints—JESI, LIBRARY: Entombment; Annunciation; Madonna and Saints; St. Lucy before her Judges; Visitation and Annunciation—JESI, MUNICIPIO: Story of St. Lucy (three panels) — LORETO, PALAllO APOSTOLICO: Christ and the Adulteress; St. Sebastian, St. Roch, and St. Christopher; Recognition of the Holy Child; Sacrifice of Melchizedek; Two Prophets; St. Michael and Satan; Presentation; Baptism—MILAN, BRERA GALLERY: Assumption; Portrait of a Lady with a Fan; Portrait of a Man; Portrait of an Old Man; Portrait of a Man; Pietà—MILAN, Bolt-ROMEO COLLECTION: Crucifixion—MILAN, MUSED CIVICO: Portrait of a Youth— MILAN, POLDI–PEZZOLI MUSEUM: Madonna and Saints—MILAN, OWNED BY SIGNOR B. CRISPI: Portrait of Niccola Leonicinio—MILAN, OWNED BY SIGNOR G. FRIZZONI: St. Catherine —MOGLIANO: Madonna and Saints—MONTE SAN GIUSTO, CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA IN TELUSIANO: Crucifixion—NAPLES, MUSEUM: Madonna and Saints; Portrait of a Man—OSIMO, MUNICIPIO: Madonna, Child, and Angels—PONTERANICA: Altar-piece (in part) —RECANATI, MUNICIPIO: Madonna and Saints; Transfiguration—RECANATI, CHURCH OF SAN DOMENICO: St. Vincent in Glory—RECANATI, ORATORIO DI SAN GIACOMO: St. James —RECANATI, CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA SOPRA MERCANTI: Annunciation (Plate III)—ROME, BORGHESE GALLERY: Madonna and Saints; Portrait of a Man—ROME, CAPITOLINE GALLERY: Man with a Musket—ROME, DORIA GALLERY: St. Jerome; Portrait of a Man — Rome, ROSPIGLIOSI GALLERY: Triumph of Chastity —SANTA CHRISTINA, PARISH CHURCH: Madonna and Saints—SEDRINA: Madonna in Glory—TRESCORRE, ORATORIO SUARDI: (frescos) Story of St. Barbara; Figure of Christ; Scenes from Legend of St. Clara; Communion of Mary Magdalene — TREVISO GALLERY: Portrait of a Man—VENICE, CHURCH OF SAN GIACOMO DELL’ ORIO: Madonna Enthroned (replica of Ancona altar-piece)—VENICE, CHURCH OF SAN GIOVANNI E PAOLO: St. Antoninus and the Poor—VENICE, CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DEL CARMINE: St. Nicholas in Glory –RUSSIA. ST. PETERSBURG, LEUCHTENBERG GALLERY: St. Catherine—SPAIN. MADRID, THE PRADO: Bridal Couple; St. Jerome.



MR. BERNHARD BERENSON’S ‘Lorenzo Lotto, an Essay in Constructive Art Criticism,’ published in London and New York in 1895, and since reissued in a revised edition in 1901, forms the most complete study of this artist that has yet appeared; and whether all Mr. Berenson’s hypotheses concerning Lotto be accepted or no, his careful and exhaustive study stands to-day as the most important and the most authoritative work on the subject. In addition to this the writings of Signor Frizzoni, Signor Locatelli, Dr. Gustavo Bampo, and Dr. Hugo von Tschudi, which will be found listed in the bibliography that follows, form valuable contributions to the study of Lorenzo Lotto.

THE ANONIMO. Notes 0n Pictures and Works of Art: Trans. by Paolo Mussi. Edited by G. C. Williamson. London, 1903 —BERENSON, B. Lorenzo Lotto. London, 190I— BERENSON, B. Venetian Painters of the Renaissance. New York, 1897—BLANC, C. Histoire des peintres de toutes les écoles; école vénitienne. Paris, 1868—BURCKHARDT, J. Der Cicerone. Leipsic,1898 — CARTWRIGHT, J. Christ and His Mother in Italian Art. London,1897—CROWE, J. A., and CAVALCASELLE, G. B. History of Painting in North Italy. London, 1871—FEDERICI, D. M. Memorie trevigiane sulle opere di disegno. Venice,1803 —KUGLER,F.T. The Italian Schools of Painting. London, 1900—LANZI,L. History of Painting in Italy: Trans. by Thomas Roscoe. London, 1847—LAW, E. The Royal Gallery of Hampton Court. London,1898-LOCATELLI, P. Illustri Bergamaschi. Bergamo, 1867-79-LOCATELLI, P. I dipinti di Lorenzo Lotto nell’ Oratorio Suardi. Bergamo, 1891—LOGAN, M. Guide to the Italian Pictures at Hampton Court. London, 1894—MONKHOUSE,C. In the National Gallery. London, 1895—MORELLI,G. Italian Painters: Trans. by C. J. Ffoulkes. London, 1892—93 — MUNTZ, E. Histoire de l’ art pendant la Renaissance. Paris, 189I-95—PASTA, A. Le pitture notabili di Bergamo. Bergamo, 1775 —PHILIPPI, A. Die Kunst der Renaissance in Italien. Leipsic, 1897 -RICCI, A. Memorie storiche delle arti e deglie artisti della Marca di Ancona. Macerata,1834—RIDOLFI, C. Le maraviglie dell’ arte. Padua, 1835 —Rio, A. F. De I’ art chrétien. Paris, 1861 — STILLMAN, W. J. Old Italian Masters. New York, 1892—TASSI,F. M.- Vite de’ pittori, scultori e architetti bergamaschi. Bergamo, 1793—Ticozzr, S. Dizionario degli architetti, scultori, pittori. Milan, 1831— VASARI, G. Lives of the Painters. New York, 1897—ZANETTI, A. M. Della pittura veneziana. Venice, 1792.


ARCHIVIO STORICO DELL’ ARTE, 1896: G. Frizzoni; Lorenzo LOTTO—ARCHIVIO VENETO, 1886: G. Bampo; Spigolature d’ all archivio notarile di Treviso, Documenti inedite intornoa Lorenzo Lotto. 1887: G. Bampo; Il testamento di Lorenzo Lotto—ART JOURNAL, 1895: J. Cartwright; Lorenzo Lotto —L’ART; 1898 : G. Biscaro; Lotto a Tre-V SO. 1901: G. Biscaro; Ancora di alcune opere giovanile di Lotto— ATHENAEUM, 1903: Review of Berenson’s ‘Lorenzo Lotto’—CosmopolIs, 1896 V. Lee; Old Lombard and Venetian Villas—GAZETTE DES BEAUX-ARTS, 1895: M. Logan;Lorenzo Lotto. 1896: E. Michel; Les Portraits de Lotto —THE GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE, 1898: G. Gardner; Two Painters of the Sixteenth Century—GIORNALE DI ERUDIZIONE ARTISTICA, 1895: G. Frizzoni; Lotto e le sue pitture nella cappella Suardi a Trescorre—KUNSTCHRONIK, 1895: J. P. Richter; Lorenzo Lotto (review of Berenson’s ‘Lotto’)—NATION, 1895: K. Cox; Modern Connoisseurship (review of Berenson’ s ‘Lotto ‘)—Nuovo RIVISTA MISENA, 1892: G. Annibaldi; Libro de’ conti di Lorenzo Lotto. 1894: P. Gianuizzi; Lotto nelle Marche—PORTFOLIO, 1889: J. Cartwright; Lorenzo Lotto—QUARTERLY REVIEW, 1896: The New Art Criticism —REPERTORIUM FUR KUNSTWISSENSCHAFT, 1879: H. v. Tschudi; Lotto in den Marken. – 1895: G. Gronau; Lorenzo Lotto (review of Berenson s ‘Lotto’ ). 1899: C. Loeser; Ein neu aufgefundener Lotto—THE STUDIO, 1895: M. Logan; On a Recent Criticism of the Works of Lotto— ZEITSCHRIFT FÛR BILDENDE KUNST, 1890: G. Frizzoni; Lotto im stâdtischen Museum zu Mailand und in der Dresdener Galerie. 1892: G. Frizzoni; Lotto’s Fresken in Trescorre.