Lorenzo Lotto (Venice circa 1480 - 1556 Loreto), Portrait of a Jeweler, Probably Giovanni Pietro Crivelli. photo Sotheby's
oil on canvas, 30 3/8 by 25 1/4 in.; 77.2 by 64.1 cm. Estimate 250,000—350,000 USD. Lot Sold 578,500 USD
PROVENANCE: Richard von Kaufmann (1850-1908), Berlin and Charlottenberg, by 1901;
His deceased sale, Berlin, Cassirer, Helbing, 4 December 1917, lot 57;
Robert Koch, Frankfurt-am-Main, by 1925;
With Goudstikker, Amsterdam, by 1934 (possibly on consignment from Koch, but not sold);
Mrs. Robert von Hirsch (née Martha Dreyfus-Koch), Basel, Switzerland, inherited from her father Robert Koch and from whom acquired in 1953 by;
Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc., New York;
From whom acquired by J. Paul Getty (1892-1976), Malibu and Sutton Place, 1953;
By whom donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1970.
EXHIBITED: Frankfurt am Main, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Austellung von Meisterwerken alter Malerei aus Privatbesitz, Summer 1925, no. 123;
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Italiaansche Kunst in Nederlandsch Bezit, 1 July - 1 October 1934, no. 198;
Venice, Palazzo Ducale, Mostra di Lorenzo Lotto, 14 June - 18 October 1953, no. 33.
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: B. Berenson, Lorenzo Lotto: An Essay in Constructive Art Criticism, London 1901, p. 118, reproduced opp. p. 120;
Gemälde des XIV - XVI. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung von Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin 1901, p. XII, no. 116
G. Gronau, "Die Gemäldesammlung Richard von Kaufmann," in Hugo Helbing's Monatsberichte, vol. 2 (1902-1903), p. 128, reproduced pl. 44;
Gowan's Art Books: The Masterpieces of Lotto, no. 29, London and Glasgow 1909, p. 8, reproduced;
W. von Bode and M. Friedländer, Die Sammlung R. von Kaufmann, Berlin 1917, p. 110, no. 57, reproduced (auction catalogue with scholarly entries by Max J. Friedländer);
H. Bernath, "An Exhibition of Old Masters in Frankfurt," in The Burlington Magazine, vol. XVII (October 1925) p. 216;
E. Waldman, "Leih-Ausstellung von Gemälden Alter Meister aus Frankfurter Privatbesitz," in Kunst und Künstler, (September 1925), p. 483;
A. Venturi, Storia dell'arte, Milan 1929, vol. IX: "La Pittura del Cinquecento," pt. 4, p. 114;
R. van Marle, "La Pittura all'esposizione d'arte antica italiana di Amsterdam," in Bollettino d'arte, vol. 28 (March 1935), p. 396;
L. Coletti, Lotto, Bergamo 1953, p. 40, reproduced Tav. 46;
E. Zocca, "Le Decorazioni della stanza di Eliodoro e l'opera di Lorenzo Lotto in Roma," in Rivista dell' Istituto nazionale d'archeologia e storia dell'arte, vol. 2 (1953), pp. 337-343, reproduced fig. 10;
W. Valentiner and P. Wescher, The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook, Los Angeles 1954, p. 26, reproduced no. 6;
A. Banti and A. Boschetto, Lorenzo Lotto, Florence 1955, pp. 16, 24, 71 (no. 34), reproduced fig. 62;
The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook, Los Angeles 1956, p. 19, reproduced no. 6;
B. Berenson, Lorenzo Lotto, Milan 1956, p. 36, reproduced fig. 108;
P. Bianconi, Tutta la Pittura di Lorenzo Lotto, Milan 1955, pp. 43-44, reproduced fig. 35A (and later English Translation);
W. Valentiner and P. Wescher, The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook, Los Angeles 1956, p. 19, reproduced no. 6;
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, London 1957, vol. 1, p. 105;
P. Wescher, "Lotto's Portrait of the Jeweller Gian Pietro Crivelli da Milano," in Bulletin of The J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, vol. 1 (1957), pp. 25-26;
H.T. Broadley, The Mature Style of Quinten Massys, New York University IFA 1961 (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation), p. 124, and note 2;
C. Gilbert, "Review of J.S. Freedberg's 'Paintings of the High Renaissance in Rome and Florence'," in Art Journal, vol. 21 (Summer 1962) p. 289 (as possibly by Franciabigio);
D. Cooper, ed., Great Private Collections, New York 1963, p. 184, reproduced p. 180;
M. Seidenberg, Die Bildnisse des Lorenzo Lotto, Lörrach 1964, pp. 48-49;
B. Fredericksen, A Handbook of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu 1965, p. 19, no. G-104;
J. Paul Getty, The Joys of Collecting, New York 1965, pp. 31, 98, reproduced p. 99;
B. Fredericksen, Catalogue of the Paintings in The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu 1972, pp. 26-27, no. 28, reproduced;
B. Fredericksen and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge, MA 1972, p. 112;
S.R. McKillop, Franciabigio, Berkeley 1974, pp. 52-53, l07 (note 29), 147, 203-204 (as Attributed to Lotto);
F. Caroli, Lorenzo Lotto, Florence 1975, p. 286, reproduced p. 287;
B. Fredericksen, The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings and French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century, London 1975, p. 85, reproduced;
R. Pallucchini and G.M. Canova, L'Opera completa del Lotto, Milan 1975, pp. 90-91, no. 30, reproduced;
F. Caroli, Lorenzo Lotto e la nascita della psicologia moderna, Milan 1980, pp. 252-253, reproduced;
G. Mascherpa, Invito a Lorenzo Lotto, Milan 1980, pp. 19, 23 (note 15);
G.M. Pilo, "Lotto, Sebastiano del Piombo, Pordenone: Significato di tre esperienze romane," in Lorenzo Lotto. Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi per il V centenario della nascita, Asolo 1980, pp. 149, 161 (notes 12-14);
C. Volpe, "Lotto a Roma e Raffaello," in Lorenzo Lotto. Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi per il V centenario della nascita, Asolo 1980, pp. 135-137, 145, reproduced "VOLPE 2";
A. Banti, Rivelazione di Lorenzo Lotto, Florence 1981, pp. 20-21, 35-36, reproduced fig. 19;
A. Bacchi et. al., "La pittura del Cinquecento a Roma e nel Lazio," in La Pittura in Italia: Il Cinquecento, Milan 1987, vol. 1, p. 421;
D. Jaffé, Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles 1997, p. 76, reproduced;
M. Firpo, Artisti, Gioiellieri, Eretici: Il Mondo di Lorenzo Lotto tra Riforma e Controriforma, Rome 2001, p. 229;
C. Pirovano, Lotto, Milan 2002, p. 175, cat. no. 18, reproduced (as circa 1509-10?).
NOTE: Of Lorenzo Lotto's varied and rich output, it is perhaps his portraiture that is most resonant with a modern audience. Over forty portraits by the artist have survived, and they span the entire length of his career; early works, such as the stunning Portrait of Bernardo de Rossi (Capodimonte, Naples) betray Lotto's training in Venice, while his later portraits painted in Bergamo, Venice and Treviso all show his familiarity with and reaction to the developments of Raphael, Titian and other contemporary artists. What does not vary, however, is Lotto's insight into the psychology of his sitters, very often drawn not from the highest, most aristocratic stratum of society, but from the wealthy professional classes to which—it may be argued—he himself belonged.
This Portrait of a Goldsmith exemplifies these tendencies in Lotto's art. With a landscape as a backdrop, a man dressed in the black cassock of his class with a matching black biretta stands behind a wall.1 He holds in his left hand a case of rings, one of which he holds out to the viewer with his right hand; four more rings rest enticingly on offer on the ledge before him. The use of a wall in front of the sitter as a spatial device was a common conceit in Northern Italian pictures of the moment, but the picture would appear also to reflect an awareness of Raphael and other central Italian artists. Scholars have unanimously dated the picture to the artist's early career, although there has been not been a consensus on the exact date of the picture. Berenson considered it to be a work produced circa 1515, probably when the artist was in Bergamo, although others have preferred a slightly earlier dating (Banti 1509-12; Boschetti, slightly before 1515). Zocca (see below) suggested a rather precise dating of 1509, which was accepted by Pallucchini.
As with many of Lotto's portraits, the exact identity of the sitter cannot be confirmed with absolute certainty, although his profession is clear from the rings that he proffers. It is not the only portrait of a jeweler that Lotto painted; one of his most celebrated portraits is the famous Portrait of a Goldsmith from Three Positions (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; fig. 1), later in date, but depicting a man of the same métier and holding a very similar box of rings.2 Emma Zocca (see literature) was the first to suggest that the sitter in the present portrait might be Giovanni Pietro Crivelli (1463-1552), a prominent Milanese jeweler then resident in Rome. Lotto knew Crivelli, and in fact, in a document dated the 18th of September 1509, the jeweler acted as a guarantor for a payment the artist was due to receive from the papal treasury for work on frescoes in the Vatican apartments.3 Stylistically, a dating to Lotto's short Roman sojourn would make sense, and a comparison with a known portrait of Crivelli on a bronze medal (fig. 2) confirms the likeness to the jeweller. Although Crivelli is shown in profile, he wears the same simple gown as in the portrait, and the facial type does correspond closely enough to make the identification highly plausible. Certainly Crivelli was an important enough figure in Rome to warrant the young artist's attention, in addition to any financial ties between the two. Crivelli had come to Rome from Milan before 1508, and remained active there until his death, both as a banker and as a goldsmith. His first home he gave over to the municipal government to house a civic pawnshop, and nothing speaks more to his success in the papal city than the splendid new home he built to replace it, the Casa Crivelli, still standing in Rome.4
1. In the mid 1950's the painting was cleaned and a copse of trees at the left of the composition that had been added later were removed.
2. Lotto appears to have had an affinity for jewelers, goldsmiths and their wares. He counted a number of them amongst his friends, and his account books mention them as well. His will describes his collection of cameos and jewelry (see P. Humfrey, Lorenzo Lotto, New Haven and London 1997, p. 110, and Appendix C, p. 181).
3. The exact involvement of Lotto in this project is unclear, and no extant work in the Stanze by him has been isolated. However, he did receive a payment in early March of 1509 of 100 ducats for work there; he is named on the 7th of the month amongst a number of artists as "Laurentio pictor pigenti in camera nostra", and then was issued a receipt the following day, made out to "magister Laurentius Lottus de Treviso".
4. At via de'Banchi Vecchi 22/24. For descriptions of the building and the decorative schemes on its exterior, please see D.Gnoli, "La casa di Giampietro Crivelli in Roma", in Archivio Storico dell'Arte, volume IV, 1891, pp. 236-242, 287-290; and G. Clarke, "Paul III and the Façade of the Casa Crivelli in Rome", Renaissance Studies, Volume 3, Number 3, September 1989 , pp. 252-266.
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