Restless, gloomy and distracted in his manner, Lorenzo Lotto was the first modern portraitist in history. That’s the thesis of the exhibition at the National Gallery which, through an intriguing selection of paintings, offers a new perspective on the work of this master of the Renaissance. Truly highlighted are the depth and ingenuity of Lotto, in whose portraits the psychology and the soul of the subject come together with a powerful ability to offer a look at the society of the time. Nobles and church officials, merchants and humanists, men, women and children leap off the canvas with surprising immediacy, with stunning colour and skilful use of light and dark. Unusual for the time, the artist’s ability to characterise his subjects - the expressiveness of the faces and bodies mix with signs of status and individual tastes, all handled in a groundbreaking fashion through the emphasis on objects belonging to the models themselves. For this same reason, original rugs, sculpture and jewellery are also a part of the exhibition, along with precious logs of the artist, keeping track of his activities - a goldmine of information about the people depicted in the paintings, offering a truly vivid look at the creation of the works and the transformational power of the Italian Renaissance. And to satisfy every possible curiosity, there are also in-depth descriptions of the hidden symbols in Lotto’s work and the relationship between his portraits and the religious paintings of the time.