Friday, 15 February 2013

Painting of the week- Portrait of Andrea Odoni by Lorenzo Lotto

Hi everyone,

Hope you have had a great week so far and had a wonderful Valentine's day. The painting of the week for this week is this beautiful painting by Lorenzo Lotto, a Venetian artist from the 16th century. 

Portrait of Andrea Odoni by Lorenzo Lotto 1527 Oil on Canvas. Royal Collection Hampton Court

Lorenzo Lotto

Lorenzo Lotto was an Italian painter and draughtsman born in Venice. He was from the same generation as other great artists who were working in Venice such as Titian and Giorgione.

Lotto was quite a traditional artist especially when compared to artists such as Titian and Giorgione. His main output was devotional pieces, altarpieces and portraits such this portrait of Andrea Odoni.

He never received the fame and fortune of artists such as Titian and the Bellini brothers and his style was unique from them. It is only in modern times that his innovations and unique style has been recognised as examples of how Venetian artists were often in dialogue with artists from northern Europe such as Durer who was known for his realism.

Lorenzo's Portraits

Painted a large amount of portraits that were unique in style to that of his contemporaries but also followed on from the refashioning of portraiture during this period with artists such as Titian and Giorgione who worked in Venice as well as Leonardo and Raphael who were working in Florence. His work was different because it focused more on the subject matter and the figure rather than the colours in the painting. Venetian painters were particularly known for their use of colour so Lotto was going against the norm. As with this portrait, his sitters usually look straight out at the viewer as if to confront them and their gaze.Through his portraits, Lorenzo tried to tell the viewer as much about the sitter as possible. He did this through clothing and jewellery, the setting and also a person's physiognomy which is when the a person's character and personality is judged by the way they look and their outward appearance. There was a believe that the outwards appearance of someone reflected their inner personality. 

Andrea Odoni

This portrait is of Andrea Odoni who was a Milanese merchant who came to Venice and spent most of his life living in the city. He was a collector of artistic treasures including sculptures from antiquity and modern bronzes. Some of the sculptures from antiquity which were collected by Odoni can be seen in this portrait showing how Lorenzo used material objects to inform the viewer about Odoni as a person. He has a large beard and soft features which were meant to show his sensitivity which is one way in which an outwards appearance of a person was meant to reflect their inner personality.

Odoni holds a statuette of Diana of Ephesus. This shows the influence of the East on Venetian artists such as Lotto because she was an Eastern deity. Diana has a multitude of breasts so is a figure that has often been associated with fertility and the earth. 

Odoni wears furs and a large coat with puffed satin arms which illustrate his wealth. The sculpture collection is meant to show that Odoni is wealthy, educated and knowledgeable on antiquity (something that was prized in the Renaissance when this painting was painted) 

Hope that you enjoyed the painting of the week for this week.

The Dorothy Days 

Grove Art Online and this article by Johnathan Jones


  1. I am enjoying the stories you share with these paintings. Thank you for making art history interesting =)

    Handmade Cuties

  2. It is always interesting to me when you see a painting and your brain says you've seen that face before. Wouldn't it be too weird to find a painting that looked like you?


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