This is probably a portrait of the Venetian merchant, Giovanni della Volta and his family described in Lotto's account book between 1538 and 1547. No other portrait of a man, woman and two children by Lotto is known.

The action is focused on the bowl of cherries on the table. The mother offers cherries to her daughter, while the father offers them to his son, who seems to dance before him in the foreground.

The table with its elaborately patterned Turkish carpet is central to the painting. This is of a type frequently represented by Lotto (hence known as a 'Lotto carpet') and has yellow arabesques on a red field, and a Kufic border.

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1480 - 1556/7
Full title
Portrait of Giovanni della Volta with his Wife and Children
Date made
completed 1547
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
104.5 x 138 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Miss Sarah Solly, 1879
Inventory number
Location in Gallery