Sebastiano and Michelangelo at the National Gallery

Mary and Elizabeth (The Visitation)
Sebastiano del Piombo
about 1518-19 © Photo courtesy of the owner
Mary and Elizabeth (The Visitation) Sebastiano del Piombo about 1518-19 © Photo courtesy of the owner

Sebastiano del Piombo vs Michelangelo. Were they friends or rivals?

Everybody knows Michelangelo. He carved the David and the Pietà, painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and The Last Judgment, among other things. But do you know Sebastiano del Piombo?

If not, it’s your opportunity to learn something new. A new show looking at Michelangelo Buonarroti‘s relationship with young artist Sebastiano del Piombo launches on 15 March 2017 at the National Gallery in London.

This is the first exhibition at the National Gallery just focused on the artistic collaboration between Sebastiano (1485-1547) and Michelangelo (1475-1564).

Michelangelo and Sebastiano

The Risen Christ
Michelangelo (completed by anonymous 17th-century sculptor) © Photography Alessandro Vasari

Sebastiano del Piombo was one of the greatest Venetian painters, then moved to Rome where he was overshadowed by Raphael and Michelangelo.

The lesser-known artist met Michelangelo after arriving in the capital from Venice in 1511. Michelangelo was finishing his work on the Sistine Chapel‘s ceiling at the time. The two artists collaborated on several works and became friends in the fiercely competitive world of High Renaissance Rome, with the older artist helping the younger with drawings and ideas. Two of the collaborations — the ‘Pietà’ for San Francesco in Viterbo (c.1512-16) and ‘The Raising Of Lazarus’ (1517-19), painted for the Cathedral of Narbonne in France — will be shown in the exhibition.

The 500-year-old marble statue of Christ will be the centrepiece of the exhibition after curators negotiated a deal to bring it to London from its permanent home in the Church of S.Vincenzo Martire in Bassano Romano, Italy. The statue of the Risen Christ, weighing almost a tonne, is one of almost 30 works which will go on show.

The exhibition features paintings, drawings, sculpture, and letters documenting correspondence between the two Italian masters.

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Michelangelo & Sebastiano, 15 March – 25 June 2017, National Gallery. Adult ticket 16£.

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