Portrait of a Young Man with a Lamp

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Portrait of a Young Man with a Lamp
Lorenzo Lotto 052b.jpg
ArtistLorenzo Lotto
Yearc. 1506
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions42.3 cm × 35.3 cm (16.7 in × 13.9 in)
LocationKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The Portrait of a Young Man with a Lamp is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto, dating to c. 1506. It is housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, Austria.

The work is generally ascribed to Lotto's stay in Treviso. It was acquired by the Viennese museum in 1816.


The picture portrays the bust a young man from three-quarter, looking at the seer. It shows an extreme attention to details, such as the slight epidermic imperfections, the elongated nose, the soft hair. The use of light and the composition are similar to other early work by Lotto, such as the Portrait of Bishop Bernardo de' Rossi (1505). The face is framed by the dark clothes and hat, painted over a white brocade drapery with a green border.

On the right, an opening to a darker background shows a lightened lamp, a symbol which could allude to the man's personality or deeds, and which has been variously interpreted (from a reference to an evangelic episode to an allegory of the human life's shortness, due the dimness of the flame).

The subject has been identified as Broccardo Malchiostro, the young chancellor of the bishop of Treviso, Bernardo de' Rossi, who both risked their lives in a plot in 1503. The decoration of the drapery would thus be a charades: it is a brocade with carduus, whence "Brocade + carduus = Brocardus". Such allusions are contained in several Lotto works, such as the Portrait of Lucina Brembati, painted during his maturity.

See also[edit]


  • Pirovano, Carlo (2002). Lotto. Milan: Electa.

External links[edit]