Lorenzo Lotto

Dates(Venetian), about 1480 - 1556
BornVenice, Italy
DiedLoreto, Italy

Active in Treviso, Bergamo, and Ancona, Lorenzo Lotto spent much of his life in the provinces, where the portraits and religious paintings he specialized in often commanded higher prices than he would have received in his native Venice. According to biographer Giorgio Vasari, Lotto trained in Giovanni Bellini's studio along with Giorgione and Titian. Lotto, however, always remained somewhat apart from the dominant Venetian artistic traditions and explored a variety of painters' styles. He assimilated the work of northern Italian artists like Titian and northern European artists like Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein, as well as Raphael, with whom he worked in Rome on the Vatican apartments in 1508.

Lotto's highly individual Mannerist style conveys devotion, humanity, interest in states of mind, and, more than his contemporaries, what was considered at the time to be an old-fashioned interest in capturing real-life appearance. Not surprisingly, he was a gifted portraitist: his three-quarter-length portraits were innovative, bold in design, and moody in atmosphere. Lotto made the unusual choice of painting in a horizontal format, which allowed him to develop ornamental patterns. In 1550 he lost his voice and part of his eyesight. He settled in a monastery at Loreto and became a lay brother in 1554.