The Italian capital is hosting an exhibition of masterpieces by 16th-century artist Lorenzo Lotto, whose distinctive paintings have enjoyed an upsurge in popularity over recent decades.
The Scuderie del Quirinale in the heart of Rome is displaying 56 paintings by Lotto (1480-1556), under a special agreement signed with the regional government of Marche, where the Venice-born artist produced some of his greatest works.
At an earlier presentation in Ancona, curator Giovanni Federico Villa said the exhibit marked the conclusion of a trilogy of exhibits exploring the significance of Veneto painters on the European art scene, following on from shows on Antonello da Messina in 2006 and Giovanni Bellini in 2008.
“Antonella da Messina was the first great portrait painter able to convey the psychology of his model, while Bellini invented the modern, unified-space altarpiece,” said Villa.
“Lotto represents the synthesis of these two, successfully exploring humankind and nature in their entirety and reaching a level of naturalism and realism that would set an example for all future painters”.
From the Quirinale site:
Following the major monographic exhibitions devoted to Lorenzo Lotto in Venice in 1953 and in Bergamo, Paris and Washington in 1998, the Scuderie del Quirinale is proud to present, for the very first time here in Rome, an exhibition covering the entire artistic output of this spectacular and solitary master of the Italian Renaissance who, leaving the tranquil provinces of the Veneto and Marche behind him, lived briefly in Rome itself, but the city showed at the time that it never really understood his work. “Alone, without loyal help or solace, and sorely troubled in his mind”, as he was to describe himself, he resumed the itinerant life and ended his days as an oblate in the Santa Casa di Loreto in the Marche.
Born in the 15th century, Lorenzo Lotto managed in a thoroughly original and independent fashion to reconcile the traditional elements of the great painting of his era with certain aspects that already herald the great age of the Baroque. After his initiation into the evocative compositional style of Giovanni Bellini, Lorenzo learned from Antonello da Messina to probe the human soul and to tell its story on canvas, portraying it on a stage where his first true source of inspiration was that great German artist Albrecht Dürer.
The Lorenzo Lotto exhibition takes its rightful place in the Scuderie del Quirinale's tradition of devoting major monographic exhibitions to the leading lights of Italian art year after year. The exhibition hosts 57 crucial works by the master, including works both “sacred” and “profane”, from his large altarpieces to his portraits that are crucial to gain a full understanding of Lorenzo Lotto's artistic career and his life and times, and to highlight his vision and his poetry.
Picture: Lorenzo Lotto: Ritratto di Andrea Odoni, 1527 – Hampton Court, The Royal Collection
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.