Artibus et Historiae no. 80 (XL)

2019, ISSN 0391-9064

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KEITH CHRISTIANSEN - Thoughts Regarding Two Lost Portrait Covers by Lorenzo Lotto (pp. 161–168)

The subject of this note are two pictures, originally from the celebrated collection of Bartolomeo della Nave, whose small painted modelli were carried out by David Teniers the Younger, as a base for engravings for what became his Theatrum Pictorium, published in 1660, with a second edition appearing in 1673: the Allegory of Deceit (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lehman Collection) and Allegory of Lust (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Johnson Collection). What we are in possession of are copies of a pair of lost works that Lorenzo Lotto most likely painted during his residence in Venice, following his return from Bergamo in 1525 and after completing the frescoed oratory at Trescore. Both the size and the subject of the two pictures suggest the possibility that they were painted as covers for a pair of portraits, a fairly common practice in Venice. Unfortunately, no surviving portraits known today can be associated with them. Still, it is no small matter that, through Teniers’s copies, we have the record of two highly original and enormously compelling secular-subject paintings by one of the most individual painters of the Renaissance.

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