Review Round Up: Lorenzo Lotto Portraits, National Gallery

The National Gallery’s new exhibition highlights the Venetian artist’s work – but what have critics said about it? 

Allegory of Virtue and Vice
 Allegory of Virtue and Vice, 1505. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1939.1.156. Image courtesy of the Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. 

The Observer: ***** “His portraits are puzzles, his life enigmatic, his reputation bizarrely neglected. Yet anyone who visits this tremendous exhibition will be instantly struck by one clear and certain truth about the Venetian master Lorenzo Lotto (c 1480-1557), which is his singular psychological genius.”

The Guardian: ***** ” The art of this Renaissance portraitist goes beyond copying what people looked like. Famous faces are few in this exhibition – many of the names are lost to time. It’s not like looking at Holbein’s portraits and marvelling at Henry VIII’s codpiece. The thrill of this exhibition is philosophical. Lotto is our contemporary. He is fascinated by identity – by what makes us who we are. Do we make ourselves or are we born this way?”

Evening Standard: ***** “The main interest of this small but tremendous show of portraits by a relatively unfamiliar Renaissance painter is the way in which a recurring singular emotion applies from picture to picture.”

The Telegraph: **** “This show provides a fascinating view of a unique talent who would never have been in-step with the rest of the world, whatever age he’d lived in. It may not be quite enough in itself to launch Lotto into art’s first division, but it’s not a bad start.”

Culture Whisper: *** “The exhibition includes a collection of domestic objects alongside the portraits, which attempt to recreate the importance of materials in the Renaissance world. But these inclusions feel unnecessary, since Lotto’s eye-candy draws the viewer into this world more than any dog-eared Bible or worn carpet ever could.”

The Times: “The mysterious Lorenzo Lotto is revealed through his portraits.”

Time Out: **** “Working at the same time as Titian, Lotto’s portraits are notable for showing people from middle-class backgrounds (clerics, merchants, artisans, etc) as well as the moneyed aristocracy. They’re now the subject of a small but perfectly formed (and free) exhibition at The National Gallery and the devil, as they say, is all in the detail.”

The Upcoming: ***** “This is a show of piercing gazes combined with delicacy of touch, in which Lotto is shown to be a master of human emotion in all its complexity. And it won’t cost you a penny.”

London Visitors: “This fascinating and extensive free exhibition will introduce the work of Lorenzo Lotto to a wider audience and gives an opportunity for visitors to consider his most notable portraits in one place. His portraits of a wide range of people are generally full of personality and give considerable insight into the period and the artist.’

Lorenzo Lotto Portraits are on display at the National Gallery until the 10th February 2019. For more information visit:

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