Artibus et Historiae no. 68 (XXXIV)

2013, ISSN 0391-9064

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BERNARD AIKEMA - An Ecce Homo by Lorenzo Lotto (pp. 29-37)

The article presents a hitherto unpublished painting of Ecce Homo. The composition is based on an iconographical tradition of Lombard origin (Andrea Solario), but the picture betrays Venetian hand. The author has been identified here as Lorenzo Lotto, and the work has been dated to the early to mid-1520s, when the artist lived and worked between Bergamo and Venice.

The picture shows Christ in utter humiliation, with lowered head and forward-bent body, which makes the figure almost tangible for the beholder. The spirituality embodied in this image recalls the religious writings of Pietro Aretino, but even more so the well-known treatise attributed to Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, a copy of which was owned by Lotto. Such spirituality characterized the supporters of the ‘reformed’ social institutions in Venice, such as the Ospedale dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Ospedaletto) of which Lotto was a governatore.

Christ’s disproportionately large hand serves here to underline His humanity as well as His humility, as is the case of Christ’s hands in contemporary representations of Christ Carrying the Cross by Romanino and Lorenzo Lotto. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the circumstances of the painting’s commission or its early history.

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