Lorenzo Lotto

"No one who has seen or studied the work of Lorenzo Lotto could doubt that he is one of the most fascinating painters of the Renaissance. Deeply religious himself, he seems to have sympathized with the saints that he portrayed. Entering into their stories more as a dramatist than as a conventional painter, Lotto bring their travails to life. At the same time his portraits clearly indicate the strong affinity he felt for his sitters, who appear vividly present centuries after he painted their images."

- David Alan Brown, 1997

Lorenzo Lotto had a long and prosperous career as a painter in Venice and surrounding area. He created altarpieces devotional pictures and portraits.

Lotto was born in Venice and is believed to have trained there. His early work shows the influence of Alvise Vivarini and Giovanni Bellini. He spent the first twenty-five years of his career outside of the city in Treviso, the Marches and Bergamo. In 1508 he travelled to Rome. There he was paid 100 ducats on 9 March 1509 for work in the "upper rooms of the pope next to the upper library". Sadly this art work, believed to have been a fresco, no longer exists. However his time in Rome is apparent in Portrait of a Man with a Felt Hat which shows the influence of the artist Raphael, though still infused with the intense individuality of Lotto's style. In his mid-40's he returned to Venice using the metropolis as a home base leaving often for extended periods to work on commissions. The bulk of these projects were done for private patrons who commissioned a variety of works including portraits, allegorical and devotional works, such as, The Virgin and Child with SS. Roch and Sebastian.

Lotto was integrated into the social and professional world of Venetian painters even serving on a committee with Titian organized by the Guild of Painters. Notable friends included the goldsmiths Bartolomeo and Antonio Carpan, architect Giovanni dal Coro, with whom he collaborated on the design for several altarpiece frames, and the sculptor and architect Jacopo Sansovino.

In 1549 he settled in Loreto, Italy. Several years later he entered a religious community at Santa Casa, Loretto where he would remain until his death.

In his "Libro di spese diverse" (Book of diverse purchases) he kept scrupulous records from 1538 - 1554, documenting his daily expenses including food, clothing and art materials, as well as listing commissions, artworks completed, and their sale price. Lotto is in fact one of the best documented artists of his period with numerous letters detailing commissions, his account book and other official documents having survived the ages.