The Renaissance was a significant era of art, which also included a lot of intrigue and competition among many of the top Renaissance artists. In this competition, some great artists got lost or fell by the wayside.
Sebastiano del Piombo was an extremely talented Italian high renaissance painter who showed us his pure gift and genius in his early days of painting. In his early days, he was a rebel both artistically and personally. Sebastiano gave it up to become a bureaucrat for the Pope. Michelangelo tried to use Sebastiano’s artistic ability to help Michelangelo outshine Raphael.
Sebastiano del Piombo – An Underrated Renaissance Artist
When you think of Renaissance artists, most people think about Leonardo Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Another name that should have been added to that list is Sebastiano del Piombo, an Italian painter of the High Renaissance era.
Sebastiano has all the characteristics of being one of the Renaissance’s great artists. During his early days of painting, he showed pure artistic genius and a rare gift for art. But today, his name is forgotten or overlooked in the Renaissance era of art.
Sebastiano – A Promising Young Renaissance Artist
Sebastiano del Piombo was born in Italy in 1485 and died in 1547; He was considered one of the great Venetian painters; he became overshadowed by Raphael and was also dominated by Michelangelo.
We are not sure what held him back or why he was not as driven or disciplined as some other artists, but he certainly had the talent in his early mannerism periods of art.
He was one of the only significant artists of the period to combine the coloring of other Venetian schools: he was trained in the monumental forms of the Rome school. One of his problems was that he was never really known as a very disciplined or productive painter. So, in other words, due to his lack of discipline, his art suffered.
Because of this, he became almost one of the very great painters until he moved to Rome. While in Rome, he became overshadowed by Raphael and also dominated by Michelangelo. We are unsure what held him back or why he was not as driven or disciplined as other artists, but he certainly had the talent.
His paintings show pure genius. His art had great sensuality and spirituality. He was a rebel at heart and was a member of one of the most avant-garde movements of Renaissance Europe. He and his fellow band of rebels spent their nights partying with prostitutes.
The group leader was his good friend and fellow painter, Giorgione. Giorgione had a reputation in Venice for sleeping with his many models.
The group of artistic rebels that Sebastino was part of also broke all the art rules for artists of their time. Instead of painting commissions mainly for the church, they painted canvases for sale.
These canvases were to decorate elaborate private homes. Many of them also had an erotic kind of nature.
But then something happened, and S Sebastiano changed his life to spend his days serving the Pope as not a painter but a Vatican bureaucrat. His talent with art was going to waste.
Sebastiano ended up with quite a lucrative position with the church. Maybe he was partly economically forced into it, or he just wanted a change in his life.
We know that his good friend Giorgione died from the plague in 1510, and it seems that Sebastiano lost his good friend and fellow rebel and art inspiration during this time. After the death of Giorgione, he lost the desire to paint as he once did.
The Pope offered Sebastiano an excellent job and gave him the title “del Piombo” after his name, which means “the lead Seal.” He became a friar, despite being a father and already married.
Sebastiano And His Art
Sebastiano’s art shows pure genius on so many levels, especially his art in his early days that shows the promise of genius. Many of these paintings were sexually charged and filled with pent-up emotions.
In his painting, The Daughter of Herodias painted in 1510. The woman is holding the severed head of John the Baptist. The look in her eyes is so piercing and real.
His painting St Louis of Toulouse is also a masterpiece. A beautiful artistic masterpiece of a man standing in a holy vestment; this painting shows his artistic brilliance.
But then something changed, and it seemed he longer cared. The talent was there but using it did not seem to be his focus or desire.
Michelangelo And Sebastiano
Michelangelo was also in close contact with the Pope, so he knew Sebastiano. Michelangelo decided to use the talent Sebastiano had to try to outdo Raphael’s classic religious paintings that were now starting to become the talk of Rome. Michelangelo wanted to show the Pope that he was the greatest painter and not Raphael.
Michelangelo asked his friend Sebastiano to work under his direction to create a huge religious painting called “The Raising of Lazarus (1517-19).” Sebastiano was to paint Michelangelo’s design and work under his direction.
When we look at the painting of the raising of Lazarus, we can see it didn’t have the same excitement or passion as Sebastiano’s earlier works. Many people consider the painting as massively dull and nothing special.
For some reason, Sebastiano was pleased to paint under Michelangelo’s direction. We don’t know if the once rebel artist had become so passive about his art that he no longer cared to paint or if he no longer felt he could paint after his friend Giorgione died.
We know from the earlier work that he was a genius and highly creative, and he painted art filled with passion. But when we look at The Raising of the Lazarus painting, we do not see the genius as we saw in many of his earlier works.
The Raising of Lazurus could not compete with Raphael’s masterpiece of Raphael’s The Transfiguration.
The competition also shows Michelangelo at his worse – extremely competitive so that he was willing to crush the young Raphael in any way that he could and, in the process, to try to use Sebastiano’s artistic ability to his advantage.
In hindsight, Michelangelo only needed to wait another year as, by 1520, Raphael would be dead. Michelangelo had no major artistic competition for many more years.
The once artistic genius Sebastiano got caught in the middle of this artistic rival of Michelangelo and Raphael. Sebastiano was used by Michelangelo in the artistic feud and seemed to have artistically disappeared for the rest of his years. We don’t know if he was so crushed that he decided not to paint or just didn’t want to deal with some of the artistic egos that were going on during his lifetime.
We know that Sebastiano is one of the artists that showed pure genius. And there was a little doubt that if he had continued to paint, he would be up there as one of the most well-known names of Renaissance artists.
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What Was The Focus Of Renaissance Art?
The focus of Renaissance art was on the classics of Greek and Rome, humanist philosophy, and the study of the human figure. Realism was also an essential part of renaissance art. The great artists of the Renaissance also became great anatomists and studied human beings.
How Did Michelangelo Create His Sculptures?
Michelangelo was a master with his sculpture. He was a master at invoking emotions and details with his work, but he could do all this from a piece of white Carrara Italian marble using mainly a chisel and mallet. He would have had sketches and models that he worked from as he carved away at the massive marble stone.
What Is The Importance Of Art From The Renaissance Period?
Renaissance art is essential as it was a time of rebirth and discovery. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael were at the forefront of that change, creation, and discovery. Renaissance art has influenced art and artists for many centuries and continues to influence artists today.
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