Sebastiano del Piombo: a Venetian in Rome
During his lifetime, painter Sebastiano del Piombo (ca. 1485-1547) was considered, along with Giorgione, the great hope of the Venetian School. Sebastiano later became Raphael's biggest competitor in Rome--he was, in fact, the only Renaissance artist capable of painting in the style of both the Venetian and the Central Italian Schools, taking cues from Giorgione, Da Vinci and Michelangelo to create a uniquely discerning and colorful style. Sebastiano was an innovator as well--he was the first to discover a technique that made it possible to paint with oil on stone, which Michelangelo deemed only for "women and lazybones like Sebastiano." Michelangelo's poor opinion of the painter's abilities has perhaps shrouded Sebastiano's reputation for centuries. In his "Lives of the Artists" (1550), Giorgio Vasari reiterated Michelangelo's chastisement. A rediscovery of this Venetian portraitist is long overdue.
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