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The discreet charm of melanchonia
Written by Anna Trevisan   

lorenzo_lotto_giuditta_con_testa_di_oloferne.jpgLotto, who was he? Originally, a lover of charades and riddles that he offered the spectator with lucid, allusive composure. Early enough he transformed, despite himself, into the protagonist of challenging, risky hermeneutic arenas. Lotto was a non-conventional artist, endowed with impressive pictorial ductility, able to speak the language of the festive, frivolous colors of his panneggio as well as that of the natural figures populating altar panels and religious canvases, and that of the dense symbolism sprinkled wisely and gently in his portraits.

 

His major strength was a virtuous oscillation, almost a coincidentia oppositorum, between the attention to colors, technique and surface (the “zalolin de vazari,” red enamels and blue varnishes, written down on his “Libro di spese diverse”) and the attention to the compositional and symbolic structures, turning some of his works into small caskets of silent riddles, inviting the spectator to walk through paths bristling with hermetic meanings, where one risks to trip on deceitful rebuses and fall. To put it with Berenson, the art historian who contributed more than anyone else to the discovery of this magnificent artist, “Lotto was the first Italian painter to understand the mutability of the human soul.” He knew how to inject his paintings with the breath of life, that psychological breathing turning art into “psychology” of the soul.

ritratto_di_coniugi.jpgOne portrait in particular, Duplice ritratto di coniugi (1523-1525), borrowed from the Hermitage and for the first time exposed in an Italian museum, represents the main attraction of the exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia. Nothing escapes the symbolic in this jewel of motionless density, yet stirred by enigmatic attitudes and gestures, by the intertwining hands and meanings continuing beyond the painting, beyond forms, aiming at the heart of a matter that, by now, has vanished, and yet it resurfaces in the bride’s pallor, in the approaching storm, in the flashy-red tablecloth that stands out against the darkness of the groom’s suit and its tiny details. Nothing escapes, not even animals, unwilling protagonists of a mute dialogue between the couple.

 

«Omaggio a Lorenzo Lotto. I dipinti dell’Ermitage alle Gallerie dell’Accademia»
Until 26 February 2012 Accademia Galleries
Info
www.gallerieaccademia.org