Lorenzo Lotto

Portrait of a Man with a Felt Hat

Renaissance portraits call upon us to interpret character, and to forget that the image is an illusion. We can imagine the man has just removed his hat to address us. He is dressed simply, and his clothes suggest that he is a craftsman, merchant or perhaps a steward. It is among the very few portraits of such a sitter, and we sense the artist's sympathy for the man.

Ottavio da Macerata, Macerata, Italy, acquired from the artist (?)[1]

– 1991/05/31
Private Collection, South America [2]

1991/05/31 – 1998/09/21

Piero Corsini Inc., New York, NY, purchased from an unknown South American private collector [3]

National Gallery of Canada, purchased from Piero Corsini Inc., New York, NY [4]

[1] Lotto's account book, the “Libro di Spese Diverse” lists eight “disegni, cioè teste colorite ad olio, in carta de naturale” [“drawings of heads, coloured, in oil, on paper, from nature”], among works of art paid to an “Otavio da Macerata” in settlement of a debt [L. Lotto, Libro di spese diverse, con aggiunta di lettere e d'altri documenti. Ed. P. Zampetti. (Np., 1969), p. 221 transcribing f. 157 r, for an entry dated to March 4, 1541, in Venice.]. The identification is speculative.

[2] The painting was included in a sale at Christie's, New York, on May 31, 1991 [“Important Old Master Paintings”, lot no. 129]. According to Christie's the consignor was a South American collector, who “had brought it to the Christie's offices in Rio de Janeiro” [C. Johnston, Justification for purchase, NGC curatorial file]. New York art dealer Piero Corsini purchased the painting at the 1991 sale.

[3] See note [2].

[4] The National Gallery of Canada purchased the work from Piero Corsini on September 21, 1998 [Accession log, NGC curatorial file].

Portrait of a Man with a Felt Hat
oil on paper
57.8 x 46.5 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1998
Accession number