Room 7

Michelangelo and Sebastiano: Collaboration and influence

Michelangelo is usually considered a ‘lone genius’ because he did not run a traditional workshop. However, he did provide drawings for his friends to work from, including Sebastiano del Piombo and Marcello Venusti, both skilled artists in their own right.

As explored in The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Michelangelo & Sebastiano (15 March–25 June), Michelangelo’s drawings for Sebastiano in the 1510s allowed them to rival Raphael. In the following decades Sebastiano was the primary portrait painter in Rome, assimilating the monumentality of Michelangelo’s figures. Sebastiano exerted great influence on Roman portraiture in the second half of the 16th century.

Michelangelo’s designs for Venusti in the 1550s meant that, although busy with architectural commissions, he could still devise frescoes and small devotional paintings. His drawings focus on the figures, giving Venusti more freedom in creating settings and using colour in his own polished style.

Michelangelo’s inventive compositions were much copied, both by his contemporaries and subsequent generations, and disseminated far beyond Italy.

Paintings in this room

After Michelangelo: 'Leda and the Swan'
Leda and the Swan
After Michelangelo
After Michelangelo: 'The Dream of Human Life'
The Dream of Human Life
After Michelangelo
Scipione Pulzone: 'Portrait of a Cardinal'
Portrait of a Cardinal
Scipione Pulzone
Sebastiano del Piombo: 'Portrait of a Lady'
Portrait of a Lady
Sebastiano del Piombo
Attributed to Marcello Venusti (after Michelangelo): 'The Holy Family (Il Silenzio)'
The Holy Family (Il Silenzio)
Marcello Venusti after Michelangelo