"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Paintings of Lorenzo Lotto

I don’t do enough art.  I caught on TV last night art that is at Basilica of Santa Casa in Loreto, Italy.    Loreto is the famous city where the supposedly the house of the Virgin Mary was transported and rebuilt, and where we get the wonderful Litany of Loreto.  One of the featured artists was Renaissance artist Lorenzo Lotto.  I had never heard of Lotto, but from the paintings highlighted I was very impressed.  So I went and looked him up.  

He comes from the Venetian school and a contemporary of Titian.  In fact on a cursory review it looks like Lotto’s art was much akin to Titian’s, and though I’m not an art scholar I would say it compares favorably.  And that’s saying a lot.  Lotto seems to have specialized in religious subjects, and ultimately becoming a Franciscan Lay brother and spending the last seven years of his life at Loreto.

Here are a few of his works that really impress me.

I’m not sure why he adds St. Catherine of Alexandria here, but the positioning of arms here is very interesting, as is the color and background.  The Holy Family with St. Catherine of Alexandria, 1533.

And here is the Holy Family with my St. Catherine, dramatizing the mystical marriage with Christ, here portrayed as a child.  The Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine of Siena, 1508.

Now this Annunciation seems like a modernist surreal painting, with the Virgin facing away and a cat at the center.  Recanati Annunciation, 1534.  You can read about this one on Wikipedia.  

I really like a number of Lotto’s secular portraits.  Here’s Portrait of Gentleman with Gloves, 1543. 

Finally here’s a self-portrait from sometime in the 1540s.

He really emphasizes the artist’s eye.


  1. Hi Manny,

    First of all: I hope your Mom is getting better. Still praying.

    Now about art: As you know I ran a whole series about classical paintings on my Blog last year. The problem I have with art when I visit a gallery is how long one should stand and admire a painting. Is it 5 minutes, longer or what? I know I can see every painting in a gallery in 10 minutes flat - but is this too hasty do you think?

    I researched Lotto - as you know he was an Italian and got his name from a numbers game better known these days as Bingo. He was often angry I undrestand. His self portray (above) painted at twenty to four in the afternoon as you correctly state seems to say: What are you looking at? Clear off! I'm going for me dinner.

    It is entitled appropriately "Irritable Bowel Syndrome".

    God bless.

    1. LOL! I'm normally pretty good with puns like Lotto but somehow I didn't pick up on that one. I was pronouncing Lotto as an Italian would, with a long "o." That's pretty funny!

  2. LOL to the previous comment!
    And yes, Manny, the cat one is curious, as well as the arm positioning in the first one. Before I enlarged it to take a closer look, I thought Mary was flexing her bicep!
    All the levity aside, the works have a very mystical appeal.
    I also hope you mother is doing better.

    1. Oh thanks for asking. My mother is not really doing better yet. The doctor's are not finding anything in particular, so I don't know if that's a good thing or bad. And she's till in pain.

    2. Still praying for your Mom.

      God bless.

  3. This is the sort of art I love. Maybe it's just me but when I go to a museum, I want to see paintings that are real and show talent. I just don't like all the modern things. I wish the Catholic Supply stores had more prints like this. I suppose I can order them on line but would like to support our local stores. I hope they find a solution for your mom quickly.