Lorenzo Lotto (Italian, Venetian, born about 1480, died 1556)
Oil on canvas, ca. 1520s?, Size 36 3/8 x 43 7/8 in. (92.4 x 111.4 cm)
Accession # 1986.138
Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, in honor of Marietta Tree, 1986
Signed (lower right, on tree trunk): Laurento. Loto
"The theme of this picture, by the most eccentric genius of the Venetian Renaissance, was inspired by classical marriage poems (or "epithalamia") and was almost certainly painted to celebrate a wedding (the Venus may be a portrait of the bride). Lotto was fascinated with emblematic devices. The shell above Venus's head and the rose petals on her lap are conventional attributes of the goddess. The ivy is symbolic of conjugal fidelity while the myrtle wreath and brazier suspended from it are accoutrements of the marriage chamber. Venus wears the earring and diadem of a sixteenth-century bride. Cupid's action, an augury of fertility, confers a mood of light-hearted wit on this most popular Venetian subject. The painting may date to the mid 1520s."
photos ©Joan Lansberry, May, 2009