Artibus et Historiae no. 65 (XXXIII)2012, ISSN 0391-9064
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Buy article pdf
APRIL OETTINGER - The Lizard in the Study: Landscape and Otium in Lorenzo Lotto’s Portrait of a Young Man (c. 1530)
This essay explores the landscape dimensions of one of Lorenzo Lotto’s most compelling and enigmatic portraits, The Young Man (c. 1530), now housed at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. As in other famous portraits from his principal period in Venice, including Andrea Odoni (1527) and Portrait of a Lady as Lucretia (c. 1533), Lotto’s still unidentified Young Man is set in an interior space, surrounded by objects that embellish his character. Scholarship has focused on constructing the man’s biography from a close reading of the contents in his room, yet the prominent role of the landscape beyond the window and its interplay with elements within the man’s studiolo – namely the green and blue fabrics on his table, the lizard, and the rose petals – still go unnoticed. Through a close examination of the nature metaphors in Lotto’s Young Man in light of contemporary paintings of St. Jerome and romances like the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Venice, 1499), the present paper aims to expand our understanding of landscape in Lotto’s painting; in particular, ways in which Lotto merged landscape metaphors with portraiture to allude to the gentlemanly ideal of otium and, more broadly, the cultural ethos of the studiolo.