LOTTO, Lorenzo
(b. ca. 1480, Venezia, d. 1556, Loreto)

Portrait of Laura da Pola

1544
Oil on canvas, 90 x 75 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

The portraits of Laura da Pola and Febo da Brescia belong to the period in his career when Lotto was particularly active as a portraitist. Both paintings are signed and dated 1544. They were identified by Berenson as works of Lotto from the artist's account book.

Rather than painting monarchs and prelates, as did Titian, Lotto portrayed the local nobility, fixing their traits with an acute eye. There is no rhetorical decorative detail but only the existential truth of the subject.

The handling of the paint, especially in the Portrait of Laura da Pola, is Titianesque in the brushwork, the broad and uneven strokes and the warm tonality. The register is kept predominantly low, however, and is almost monotonous in the costume and the background, except for the warm rays of the velvet chair and the explosive colour of the fan. The abstract oval of the face, framed by the regular coiffure and headdress, is reminiscent of the Tuscan tradition. Laura da Pola is shown with a pensive expression, emphasized by the refined rendering of the details of her attire.




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