By Anne Leader and Alexis Culotta

Sebastiano del Piombo died on 21 June 1547 in Rome. Having lived and worked in the city for the better part of his career, Sebastiano established himself as one of the foremost painters of the early sixteenth century through his innovative ability to blend Venetian and Roman principles of painting into his works. Born in Venice in 1485, Sebastiano trained alongside Titian in the workshop of Giorgione. His rich palettes was derived from that of Giorgione, and Sebastiano most likely worked on a number of notable commissions in the Lagoon City before he was wooed away to Rome in 1511.

Sienese banker to Pope Julius II, Agostino Chigi, had visited Venice that year while working at the behest of the pontiff. While there, he convinced Sebastiano to move to Rome to work on substantial commissions within the banker’s burgeoning villa. a run in urbe along the Tiber River in Rome. Sebastiano worked alongside Raphael in that villa space for their paired respective representations of Polyphemus and Galatea.

From that point, the two artists fell into a rather terse rivalry despite the fact that Raphael’s more classical style ws a crucial influence for the Venetian. Sebastiano also came under the influence of Michelangelo and his classicism, fusing it with his Venetian color to create a distinctive style that was widely sought after, especially after Raphael’s untimely death in 1520. Sebastiano painted numerous altarpieces and portraits for which he was highly esteemed. His sitters included popes, bankers, and possibly Christopher Columbus (d. 1506).

Reference: Mauro Lucco. “Sebastiano del Piombo.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Portrait of a Man, Said to be Christopher Columbus (born about 1446, died 1506), 1519, oil on canvas, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1900

Portrait of a Young Woman as a Wise Virgin, c. 1510, oil on hardboard transferred from panel, Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1952.2.9

The Raising of Lazarus, 1517-19, oil on canvas, London, National Gallery

Flagellation of Christ, 1516-24, mural painting in oil, Rome, San Pietro in Montorio

Portrait of Pope Clement VII (Giulio di Giuliano de’ Medici, 1523-34), ca. 1531, oil on slate, Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 92.PC.25

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