Lorenzo Lotto was a Northern Italian painter, draughtsman and illustrator, traditionally placed in the Venetian School. He painted mainly altarpieces, religious subjects and portraits. While he was active during the High Renaissance, he already constitutes, through his nervous and eccentric posing and distortions, a transitional stage to the firstFlorentine and Roman Mannerists of the 16th century.
He grew up in Venice under the influence ofGiovanni Bellini (reputedly Lotto got his professional training in his studio) and the works of Antonello da Messina. Then he traveled to Marches, where he saw the works of Melozzo da Forli and Luca Signorelli. These sharpened his understanding of perspective and precise presentation of human movement.
Then came his work in the Vatican (1509-1511), of which no traces remain. The artist was recognized while working in Bergamo (1513-1525), where he painted altarpieces, portraits and fresco cycles. The perfect example of his work is Susanna and the Elders(1517), one of Lotto’s masterpieces. In his religious works Lotto abandoned traditional patterns of composition, e.g. The Annunciation (1527). Lotto was also an outstanding portraitist, though we do not know anything about the people he depicted. The artist preserved for history their appearances and sometimes their names, but not their stories.
After Bergamo he tried to settle in Venice, but his lack of success in his native city caused him to retire to the Marches in 1549. In his last years, his painting became hesitant and uncertain. Lotto supposedly went blind. Already an old man, he took vows as a lay-brother and entered the Sanctuary of the Santa Casa in Loreto.