Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
Rug: H. 69 1/4 in. (175.9 cm)
W. 48 3/4 in. (123.8 cm)
The James F. Ballard Collection, Gift of James F. Ballard, 1922
Not on view
Carpets displaying this striking design of stylized vegetal arabesques in yellow on a red ground are called "Lotto," after a famous altarpiece by the Italian Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto that includes a similar carpet. The border of this example contains a design of cartouches and rosettes alternating on a deep blue background. The motifs of the central surface show additional hooks and curls and render the overall impression more decorative, leading to the name "ornamental Lotto" given to this and similar carpets.
"Lotto" carpets were popular in the Low Countries, and consequently were favored by Dutch and Flemish artists. The earliest representations are found in Dutch paintings from the 1540s. By the early seventeenth century, they become a popular model for painters who depicted them in genre scenes, portraits, and, occasionally, still lifes, as a sign of wealth and good taste. The sophisticated "ornamental Lotto" can only be found in the work of a small group of artists, among them Jan Brueghel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens, Gabriël Metsu, and Cornelis Bisschop.
James F. Ballard, St. Louis, MO (until 1922; gifted to MMA)
Asia Society. "Peasant and Nomadic Rugs of Asia," 1961, no. 1.
Toronto. Aga Khan Museum. "A Thirst for Riches: Carpets from the East in Paintings from the West," June 6–October 18, 2015, no catalogue.
Breck, Joseph, and Frances Morris. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art." In The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1923. no. 37, p. 23, ill. (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S. Peasant and Nomad Rugs of Asia. New York: Asia House Gallery, 1961. no. 1, pp. 16, 17, 74, p. 17 (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 70, pp. 185, 220, ill. fig. 160 (b/w).
Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. pp. 37-38.
Denny, Walter B. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 64-65, ill. fig. 51 (color).