Friar Angelo Ferretti As Saint Peter Martyr
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Lorenzo Lotto, a devout man with strong ties to the Dominican order, created portraits of startling psychological directness. The subject of this painting is almost certainly Angelo Ferretti, a Dominican friar, from whom the artist records payment for a portrait in 1549. Ferretti assumes the guise of Saint Peter Martyr, the thirteenth-century inquisitor who, according to legend, was assassinated with a meat cleaver on his way to Milan.

Crucial details of the work were revealed during twentieth-century restorations. The cleaver embedded in the scalp, painted over by a squeamish collector, was discovered in 1923. Twenty years later, the canvas’s original edges were found to have been folded behind the stretcher; when they were flattened out, conservators found Lotto’s signature on the lower left, and on the right, an inscription on either side of the palm branch: CREDO IN UNUM DEUM (“I believe in one God”). Peter reportedly wrote these words in his own blood as he lay dying.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Lorenzo Lotto, Italian (1480 - 1556/1557)
Friar Angelo Ferretti as Saint Peter Martyr
Work Type
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Veneto, Venice
Level 2, Room 2540, European Art, 13th–16th century, The Renaissance
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
sight: 89.9 x 69.4 cm (35 3/8 x 27 5/16 in.)
frame: 101 x 80.6 x 7 cm (39 3/4 x 31 3/4 x 2 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: L. Lo[ ]o
Charles Fairfax Murray Collection, London, sold; to Edward Waldo Forbes, 1906, loaned; to Fogg Art Museum, gift; to Fogg Art Museum in 1964.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Edward W. Forbes in memory of Alice F. Cary
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
Publication History

Collection of Mediaeval and Renaissance Paintings, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1919), pp. 226-228, repr.

Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: a list of the principal artists and their works, with an index of places, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1932), p. 308

Venetian Paintings of the 15th and 16th Centuries, exh. cat., M. Knoedler & Co. (New York, 1938), p. 21, cat. no. 9, repr.

Anna Banti and Antonio Boschetto, Lorenzo Lotto, Casa Editrice G. C. Sansoni (Florence, 1953), p. 93 as no. 136, repr. as fig. 248

Edward A. Maser, Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration: Masterworks from University and College Art Collections, exh. cat., University of Kansas Museum of Art (Lawrence, KS, 1958), no. 45

Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT, 1967)

Edward Waldo Forbes, Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1971), p. 32, repr. in b/w p. 33

Sydney J. Freedberg, Painting in Italy 1500-1600, Penguin Books (Harmondsworth, 1971), p. 207

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 112

Sydney J. Freedberg, "Lorenzo Lotto to Nicolas Poussin", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 389-397, p. 389, repr. p. 389 as fig. 1

Flavio Caroli, Lorenzo Lotto e la nascita della psicologia moderna, Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri (Milan, 1980), pp. 242-43

Jan van der Marck, In Quest of Excellence: Civic Pride, Patronage, Connoisseurship, exh. cat., Center for Fine Arts, Miami (Miami, Florida, 1984), p. 52 and p. 238 as cat. no. 36

Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), no. 176, p. 155, repr.

David McTavish, Italian Drawings from the Collection of Duke Roberto Ferretti, exh. cat., Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, Canada, 1985), p. II (introduction)

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 45, color plate; pp. 117, 333, repr. b/w cat. no. 683

Jacques Bonnet, Lorenzo Lotto, Editions Adam Biro (France, 1997), cat. no. 130, p. 170, repr. 112

Costanza Costanzi, Le Marche Disperse: Repertorio di Opere d'arte dalle Marche al Mondo, Silvana Editoriale (Milan, Italy, 2005), p. 33, no. 15 p. 109, repr.; repr. in color as tav. 7

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 79, repr.

Francesca Bewer, A Laboratory for Art: Harvard's Fogg Museum and the Emergence of Conservation in America, 1900-1950, Harvard Art Museum/Yale University Press (Cambridge, MA, 2010), p. 46-47, fig. 1.9

Giovanni Carlo Federico Villa, ed., Lorenzo Lotto, exh. cat., Silvana Editoriale (Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2011), repr. on p. 203 as fig. 8

Exhibition History

Venetian Paintings of the 15th and 16th Centuries, M. Knoedler & Co., 04/11/1938 - 04/30/1938; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 06/25/1938 - 07/24/1938

Four Centuries of Venetian Painting, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, 03/01/1940 - 03/31/1940

Masterworks from University and College Art Collections, University of Kansas Museum of Art, Lawrence, 02/22/1958 - 03/30/1958

Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 10/12/1967 - 12/03/1967

Edward Waldo Forbes: Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum, 01/16/1971 - 02/22/1971

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

Re-View: S422-423 Western Art of the Middle Ages & Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 2540 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at