Madonna and Child with Two Donors

Object Details


Madonna and Child with Two Donors


Lorenzo Lotto (Italian (Venetian), about 1480 - 1556)




about 1525 - 1530


Oil on canvas


85.7 x 115.6 cm (33 3/4 x 45 1/2 in.)

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Framed by richly draped fabric, the Virgin Mary tenderly sits Christ on her lap. The couple who commissioned the panel look up at the child, meeting his eyes as he rewards their piety with a blessing. As the symbol of Christ's resurrection, the fig branch growing behind the curtain also reassures the donors of their own redemption.

In the late 1400s, well-to-do families often commissioned such pictures for hanging in the home or the private chapel of a church. These panels served both as portraits and as testimonies to the donors' religious devotion.

Lorenzo Lotto emphasized the contrast between the earthly and the spiritual realms by using a highly naturalistic style for the couple and a more ideal, poetic rendering for the Virgin and child. With a flair for color betraying his Venetian origins, Lotto contrasted Mary's luminous blues and reds with the donors' more somber clothing.

by 1660 -

Possibly Paolo del Sera (Florence, Italy), possibly to Giovanni Carlo de' Medici.

by 1663 -

Possibly Cardinal Giovanni Carlo de' Medici, 1611 - 1663 (Florence, Italy)

possibly by 1856 - still in 1882

Rospigliosi (Rome, Italy)

by 1905 - 1927

Robert Henry Benson, 1850 - 1929 (London, England; Buckhurst Park, Sussex, England)

by 1905 - 1927

and Evelyn Holford Benson, 1856 - 1943 (London, England; Buckhurst Park, Sussex, England), sold to Duveen Brothers, Inc., 1927.

1927 - 1929

Duveen Brothers, Inc. (London, England; New York, New York), sold to William Randolph Hearst, 1929.

1929 -

William Randolph Hearst, American, 1863 - 1951 (Los Angeles, California; New York, New York) [unsold, Hearst sale, Hammer Galleries, New York, May 1, 1941, lot 51-1.], transferred to the Hearst Foundation.

- 1944

Hearst Foundation, sold to La Passe, Ltd. (Nicolas de Koenigsberg), 1944.

1944 -

Nicholas de Koenigsberg, La Passe, Ltd., born 1882 (New York, New York; Buenos Aires, Argentina), to his wife, Paul Ch. de Koenigsberg, by 1947.

by 1947 -

Paula Ch. de Koenigsberg (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

F. C. Stoop (Zürich, Switzerland)

- 1977

Private Collection [sold, Christie's, London, December 2, 1977, lot 55, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Pictures, Drawings, Cloisonné Enamels, Decorative Furniture and Other Works of Art (1905) (Cat. 42)
  • Burlington Fine Arts Club (London), 1905
Pictures of the Venetian School, Including Works by Titian and His Contemporaries (1914) (Cat. 16)
  • Burlington Fine Arts Club (London), 1914
Loan Exhibition of the Benson Collection of Old Italian Masters (April 27 to July 30, 1927) (Cat. 51)
  • Manchester Art Gallery, (Manchester), April 27 to July 30, 1927
Exposición de arte gótico: Colección Paula de Koenigsberg (1947) (Cat. 18)
  • Museo de Arte Hispano Americano Isaac Fernández Blanco, (Buenos Aires), 1947
The Golden Century of Venetian Painting (October 30, 1979 to January 27, 1980) (Cat. 17)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), October 30, 1979 to January 27, 1980
The Age of Caravaggio / Caravaggio e il suo tempo (February 5 to June 30, 1985) (Cat. 6)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), February 5 to April 14, 1985
  • Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, May 12 to June 30, 1985
Hearst, the Collector (November 9, 2008 to February 1, 2009) (Cat. 129)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), November 9, 2008 to February 1, 2009