Lorenzo Lotto

We went to the Lorenzo Lotto Portraits exhibition downstairs in the basement of the National Gallery – free and mercifully uncrowded, whereas the upstairs galleries (and the National Dining Rooms) were packed.

He comes across as an unexpectedly uneven artist- some wonderful work, psychologically penetrating, including major works from the National Gallery’s own collection, Giovanni Agostino della Torre and his son, Niccolò, painted not long after Lotto had moved to Bergamo, the Portrait of a Woman inspired by Lucretia, and Andrea Odoni from the Royal Collection; also, a wonderful late Lotto from the National Gallery of Canada, Portrait of a Man with a Felt Hat, only acquired in 1998. But I found it hard to get a sense of his career as a whole, flitting across northern Italy, apparently increasingly depressed, ending his career as a lay brother in Loreto.

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