Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome and Nicholas of Tolentino

Lorenzo Lotto (Italian (Venetian), about 1480–1556)


94.3 x 77.8 cm (37 1/8 x 30 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)





The vibrant colors and deep, atmospheric landscape of this painting are hallmarks of the painting of Lotto, a Venetian contemporary of Titian. The small coffin on which the Christ child sits foretells his death, as does the crucifix held by the weeping Saint Jerome. Meditation on the death of Christ was encouraged as a way of understanding Christ’s suffering and man’s redemption. Lotto’s sensitivity to human emotion is evident in the expressions of the saints who flank the Virgin and Child.


1811, Louis Varisco, Paris; 1811, Varisco sale, Paris, no. 8 [see note 1], probably to Joséphine Bonaparte (b. 1763 - d. 1814), Empress of the French, Malmaison, near Paris [see note 2]; by inheritance from Joséphine to her daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais (b. 1783 - d. 1837), Queen of Holland; June 15, 1819, Beauharnais sale, Augsburg, lot 33, unsold; 1820, Beauharnais sale, Augsburg, lot 26, unsold; 1823, Beauharnais sale, Vienna, lot 20, unsold [see note 3]; by descent from Hortense de Beauharnais to her son, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (b. 1808 - d. 1873), Paris and Chislehurst, Kent; August 20, 1840, Prince Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte sale, Christie's, London, lot 142, to Sir John Easthope (d. 1865), 1st Bart., Plas Dulas, Abergele, Denbigshire, Wales, for £33.12; by descent within the family to his great-grandson, Robert McGillivray Dawkins (d. 1955), Oxford and Plas Dulas; November 2, 1955, Dawkins sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 160, to Mr. Johnson. 1960, with Mr. Wright, London; 1960, sold by Wright to Rudolf J. Heinemann (dealer, b. 1902 - d. 1975), New York; 1960, sold by Heinemann to the MFA for $75,000. (Accession Date: March 10, 1960)

[1] Attributed to Correggio. See Hipolyte Delaroche, "Catalogue d'une Collection Précieuse de Tableaux," Paris, 1811, pp. 11-13. Varisco was a Parisian art dealer. The 1811 sale was not an auction, but rather, the sale of his stock.

[2] Most of the paintings in the Varisco sale of 1811 were subsequently in the collection of Joséphine. The Lotto appears in her inventory of 1814, no. 1166, attributed to Correggio.

[3] The sale catalogues of 1819, 1820, and 1823 do not bear Queen Hortense's name but rather that of the gallery at Malmaison. In each one, the painting is attributed to Correggio, as it is in the Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte sale of 1840.

Credit Line

Charles Potter Kling Fund