Lotto’s Portrait of Andrea Odoni (1527) Addendum

This portrait by Lorenzo Lotto has already been analyzed in its own entry but I recently read a catalogue entry in which the writer who made two interesting observations was quite unaware of their significance.1 It is a reminder of how you should always read art books thinking of the themes we describe.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Lorenzo Lotto, Portrait of Andrea Odoni (1527) Oil on canvas. Royal Collection, Hampton Court.

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The 2011 catalogue for a Lotto exhibition in Rome notes that the table at which Odoni sits or stands is L-shaped. Spread with a green tablecloth, the color of fertility, it is clearly an L for Lorenzo Lotto, a conclusion the writer missed. If, like her, I did not know how artists use their initials in their compositions, the comment would have probably passed me by too.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Detail (top) and diagram (bottom) of Lotto's Portrait of Andrea Odoni

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A few lines later she adds, writing in Italian, that behind the sitter's shoulder on the end of the L-shaped table (mostly obscured by Odoni) sits a sculpture of "due lottatori". Lottatori? Two wrestlers. That made me realize that Lotto's name means "I fight" and that the two mythic wrestlers, Hercules and Anthaeus, represent Lotto's creative struggle and one of art's main themes.2

The cataloguer was writing descriptively but, if you keep your ears open for the sounds and letters of an artist's name, you too may have an insight that no-one but artists ever has.



 

Captions for image(s) above:

Detail of Lotto's Portrait of Andrea Odoni

Click image to enlarge.

Notes:

1. Abrahams, Lotto's Portrait of Andrea Odoni (1527) published online 23 March, 2011.

2. Elsa Dezuanni in Lorenzo Lotto (Rome: Scuderie del Quirinale) 2011, p. 214

Original Publication Date on EPPH: 26 Jul 2013. © Simon Abrahams. Articles on this site are the copyright of Simon Abrahams. To use copyrighted material in print or other media for purposes beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Websites may link to this page without permission (please do) but may not reproduce the material on their own site without crediting Simon Abrahams and EPPH.