Portrait of a Gentleman with a Lion Paw
|Type||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||95.5 cm × 69.5 cm (37.6 in × 27.4 in)|
|Location||Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna|
The work is known since 1679, when it was listed in the collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria. The identity of the character portrayed is unknown, as well as the execution date, although the canvas has been assigned to Lotto's early Venetian period, when he worked for several private commissioners.
The work shows, over a red and a green backgrounds, a gentleman wearing a rich, fur-lined black coat. He is standing and showing a gilt lion paw. The right hand, in a sentimental gesture typical of Lotto, is touching his chest, showing two precious rings. The composition and the colors were highly influenced by Titian, then the most respected painter in Venice.
The symbolic meaning of the lion paw has not been cleared. It could be an allusion to the subject's name, perhaps Leonino Brambati of Bergamo, or a member of the Venetian family of the Zatta (in Venetian dialect, "paw").
The lion's paw is a well known masonic gesture.
- Pirovano, Carlo (2002). Lotto. Milan: Electa.
- Page at the museum's website (German)