Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480 – 1556) 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 posings and distortions, a transitional stage to the first Florentine and Roman Mannerists of the 16th century.
During his lifetime, Lorenzo Lotto was a well-respected painter and certainly popular in Northern Italy. He is traditionally included in the Venetian School, but his independent career actually places him outside the Venetian art scene. He was certainly not as highly regarded in Venice as in the other towns were he worked. He had an own stylistic individuality, even an idiosyncratic style. After his death, he gradually became neglected and then almost forgotten. This could be attributed to the fact that his oeuvre now remains in lesser known churches or in provincial musea. Even the top musea of the world possess each only a few of his paintings. Thanks to the work of the art historian Bernard Berenson, he was rediscovered and acclaimed as a master at the end of the 19th century. Since then, many monographs and several exhibitions have been dedicated to Lorenzo Lotto, such as the exhibition in Venice in 1953 and recently Lorenzo Lotto: Rediscovered Master of the Renaissance in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (November 1997-March 1998).