Painter/Artist: Piombo

Venetian School. Pupil of Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione; but influenced at Rome by Raphael and Michelangelo.

LONDON, NATIONAL GALLERY

THE RAISING OF LAZARUS Christ stands towards the left on a step, His right hand raised, His left pointing across to the right where Lazarus is seated ridding himself of his grave-clothes. In the centre is a woman kneeling gazing up at Christ, and in the left foreground an old man kneeling at Christ’s feet. Another woman is standing behind His outstretched hand, her head averted. In the right foreground a man kneels beside Lazarus. In the background are many more figures and a varied landscape.

Painted at Rome in 1517-19 for Giulio de’ Medici (afterwards Pope Clement VII.) to be placed with Raphael’s Transfiguration in the Cathedral of Narbonne. Both were publicly exhibited in Rome, some preferring the work of Sebastiano.

According to Vasari, he was assisted by Michelangelo in the design of parts of the picture, but this is questionable.

Signed SEBASTIANVS VENETVS FACIEBAT.

The picture remained at Narbonne till it was purchased by the Duc d’Orleans early in the eighteenth century. It was brought to England in 1792 with the rest of the Orleans Gallery, and was acquired by Mr. Angerstein, with whose pictures it was purchased in 1824.

FLORENCE, UFFIZI

“LA FORNARINA” Bust length, the face turned towards the left. Waving hair crowned with a wreath of golden laurel leaves. She wears a blue dress over a white chemisette. Over her left shoulder is a fur stole, which she holds with her right hand. Dark green background.

This picture, which is dated 1512, was long supposed to be Raphael’s portrait of his mistress, a baker’s daughter.

BERLIN

PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG ROMAN WOMAN Nearly half length to left, the head turned towards us, the eyes meeting ours.

“The hanging raven hair, bound in a mass at the back of the neck, is set off by a pretty, striped cloth tied over the crown of the head. The low white dress and pink sleeves show the neck and throat; the right hand supports the fur collar of a bright red mantle, the left (extended to the left-hand corner of the canvas) grasps the handle of a basket filled with fruit and flowers-all this on a dark ground of wall broken by an opening to the left, beyond which we see the red glow of evening in a clouded sky and ranges of hills dotted with houses.”(C. and C.)

Purchased in 1885 from the Duke of Marlborough.

PETROGRAD, HERMITAGE

THE ENTOMBMENT “The Pieta at the Hermitage is one of the best that Luciano finished under the early influences which reacted upon his style at Rome, having all the charm of Venetian tone, yet much of the power and classic grandeur derived from Michelangelo. There is no picture of Venetian make in which the energy of passion is more nobly and more vigorously presented. . . . Christ, outstretched on the grave-clothes, is partly raised on the right elbow, His drooping head one of the best moulded types that Sebastian ever brought out, His frame, of select proportion, dead yet solemn and calm in death. Behind the body to the left the Virgin sinks into the arms of Nicodemus and one of the Marys. Behind them Joseph points to the tomb from which the slab is being raised. Michelangelo’s spirit predominates in the man raising the cover of the sepulchre with a lever and his companion, who answers the shout of Joseph. In contrast with all this we have the calm, sweet landscape of simple line, with its detail of house and church and farm, and a hot sunset horizon full of air and mystery.”(C. and C.)