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Why the extravagant genius of the Renaissance was not recognized in the homeland for centuries: "Another Venetian" by Lorenzo Lotto
Why the extravagant genius of the Renaissance was not recognized in the homeland for centuries: "Another Venetian" by Lorenzo Lotto
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Lorenzo Lotto occupies a special place among the great Italian Renaissance painters. More recently, this painter was in the shadow of his famous contemporaries and fellow countrymen, remaining unrecognized for centuries even in his homeland. Meanwhile, the creative and life path of this misanthrope and nonconformist of Titian's time, like the fate of some of his paintings, deserve attention, study, and often - and admiration.

Lotto and High Renaissance Italy

Lorenzo Lotto was born in 1480. Italian art in those days entered the era of the High Renaissance. The main direction in painting was determined by Venetian artists, and the inhabitants of mainland Italy strove to this city in order to adopt the manner of eminent masters and find expression and recognition of their talent.

L. Lotto

Despite the fact that Lotto was fortunate enough to spend his childhood and adolescence in Venice, having received an artistic education there, in a sense he never became a Venetian artist.

L. Lotto. Self-portrait

The style of painting Lotto, already at the beginning of his career, distinguished by its originality, was formed under the influence of already recognized masters such as Bellini and later - Giorgione. Alvise Vivarini is considered the direct teacher of Lotto, who occupies a rather modest place in the history of painting. But the works of Albrecht Durer, as well as personal acquaintance with him, had a much greater impact on the work of the young artist.

L. Lotto

Lotto received his first large commission at the age of twenty-three in Treviso, where he went to make a portrait of Bishop Bernardo di Rossi. For the portrait, the artist created a second canvas, "cover", on which he depicted "Allegory of virtue and vice". At first glance, containing an abstract plot, the composition was directly related to the client of the portrait: for example, the destroyed tree symbolized the de Rossi family, which at that time was on the verge of extinction and torn apart by contradictions between its individual branches.

L. Lotto

Not far from Treviso, in Tiveron, Lotto created an altarpiece for the small church of St. Cristina. The most successful and fruitful period of the artist's life in the Marche region in Central Italy - the one where the cities of Ancona, Recanati, Jesi, Loreto are located. Currently, Lotto's works can be found in many temples in this area, while their number is very small in the large museums of the world. The master also visited Rome, where in 1509, by order of Pope Julius II, he painted the interiors of the Vatican Palace. Lotto created many paintings in Bergamo, where he painted portraits of wealthy citizens.

L. Lotto

Continuing to travel to different provinces of Italy, Lotto often took on orders - both decorating the interiors of temples and creating portraits. Breaking out of the canons of painting familiar for that time, Lorenzo Lotto did not enjoy the unconditional recognition that other Venetians, and Titian in the first place, acquired. In addition, working in Venice demanded qualities from the artist that were contrary to Lotto's nature: the ability to achieve the patronage of wealthy patrons, to please eminent masters, to observe certain standards of painting.

L. Lotto

Lorenzo Lotto's unique style

Focusing on the philosophy and landmarks of ancient art, Venetian painters created idealized, sublime images. Lotto, being a deeply religious, anxious, emotional person, in his works emphasized the human essence of the characters, involved the viewer in what was happening on the canvas, sometimes, contrary to the canons, turning the saints' glances at him, as in a painting called "Madonna with Four Saints."

L. Lotto

The portraits by Lorenzo Lotto are distinguished by their special depth, they contain a reflection of the character's inner world. The master does not flatter the model, but conveys - with the help of facial expressions, gaze, background, attributes, to which the artist has always approached with great care - the true psychological appearance of a person, and often his personal attitude.

L. Lotto

In almost all of Lotto's works, there is a landscape, to which he paid considerable attention. In the painting The Mystical Betrothal of St. Catherine, behind the image of the parapet with the carpet thrown over it, a large rectangular space is smeared with dark paint. These are traces of old vandalism. In 1527, a French soldier, impressed by the beauty of the Sinai in a painting, cut out a piece of canvas for his personal collection. History has not preserved the name of this person, nor the exact information about what the lost part of the picture looked like.

L. Lotto

Lotto paid a lot of attention to details - objects such as books, flowers, shells, jewelry and accessories helped, according to the artist, to convey the mood and emotional background of what was happening on the canvas and more accurately depict the character of the person depicted in the painting. Lotto's work can be recognized by the careful study of fabric folds, drapery, a combination of deep blue, red, yellow and green colors.

L. Lotto

His artistic style is so distinctive that it makes it possible to draw conclusions about the authorship even in the absence of a signature on the picture, as happened with the work that is now called "Madonna delle Grazie". The painting came to the Hermitage collection in the twenties of the XX century from a private collection. An approximate dating was established - the XVI century, belonging to one of the Italian masters was also beyond doubt. The dark curtain, against which the Madonna and Child was depicted, turned out, after infrared and X-ray studies, to later paint over the previously painted figures of three angels. Having suspected that the work of Lorenzo Lotto was due to the high level of skill, art critics, after studying his notes, concluded that the painting was created by him in 1542.

L. Lotto

Lorenzo Lotto's legacy and its place in art history

Lotto left behind not only more than a hundred paintings, but also personal correspondence, as well as the so-called "Book of Accounts", which he kept since 1538 and where he recorded all the money received and spent. Thanks to this book, it became possible to establish the authorship of his paintings, discovered without a signature or other identification marks. From the records it is known that for some time the artist tried to settle in Venice, renting an apartment from his relative Mario d'Arman and his daughter Lucretia.

L. Lotto

Nevertheless, from the age of 70, Lorenzo Lotto became a novice of the Dominican monastery of Santa Casa in Loreto, for which he had already fulfilled a number of orders during his travels in Italy. Until the end of his life, Lotto was distinguished by strict self-discipline, piety, suffered from a lack of recognition and generally found it difficult to find a common language with people. The artist died in the monastery at the age of about 77 years. Probably Lotto's last work was Bringing to the Temple.

L. Lotto

Lotto's special style of painting and great competition from Italian artists for several centuries made him practically unknown to the general public. The works of art critic Bernard Berenson, who at the end of the 19th century, rediscovered this artist to the world, brought fame to the creative heritage of Lorenzo Lotto. In 1953, a major exhibition of his works was held in Italy.

Bernard Berenson, art critic who opened the world to the works of Lorenzo Lotto

According to the researchers of Lotto painting, if the art of Venice followed this artist, it would develop along the path not to Tintoretto, but to Rembrandt. Indeed, with Northern Renaissance The paintings of the Venetian have a lot in common, which does not negate either the unique style or the special place they occupy in the art of the Renaissance.

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