Lotto Lorenzo

Self-portrait

96.5 x 81 cm; oil on canvas (FC 673)

In overall good condition, the painting probably has a funerary character, suggested by the finger pointing to the ring. The ivy and the putto on a set of scales would appear to corroborate this interpretation: a Sacred Love or a call to seek a balance between intellect and passions. That verse was of significance for the artist, who had already included it in a painting at the Palazzo Barberini, and in the intarsia work in the cathedral in Bergamo, where it says “Nosce te ipsum”, that is: know thyself. This could be a self-portrait, it was definitely considered as such in 1603 when it was already part of the Aldobrandini collection. Various questions remain: the age indicated, (37) does not correspond to the style of when the artist was this age; furthermore the lyricism and iconography allude to a lost love of the artist, but one that there is no trace of in what is known about him. Though the subject of the painting may remain in doubt, the authorship is underscored by the signature at the bottom (“L. LOTTO”).

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