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Sebastiano del Piombo, incorporating designs by Michelangelo, The Raising of Lazarus

Key facts
Full title The Raising of Lazarus
Artist Sebastiano del Piombo, incorporating designs by Michelangelo
Artist dates about 1485 - 1547; 1475 - 1564
Date made 1517-19
Medium and support Oil on synthetic panel, transferred from wood
Dimensions 381 × 289.6 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG1
Location Room 32
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Raising of Lazarus
Sebastiano del Piombo, incorporating designs by Michelangelo

At the request of Martha and Mary, Jesus visited the grave of their brother Lazarus and raised him from the dead (John 11:1–44). Sebastiano shows Christ standing with one hand raised to invoke the power of God and the other pointing to Lazarus, who is seated on the edge of his stone tomb.

Christ speaks the life-giving words, ‘Lazarus come forth’. A kneeling man helps Lazarus remove the shroud and bindings in which he had been buried. Mary kneels at Christ’s feet in awe while Martha raises her hands and turns her head away, unable to look. Saint Peter at bottom left falls to his knees while other disciples turn to one another in amazement.

The painting was commissioned for Narbonne Cathedral in southern France by Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, who had also commissioned Raphael’s Transfiguration for the same cathedral. Michelangelo provided drawings for some of the main figures in this complex composition as he was keen to help Sebastiano outperform Raphael, their artistic rival.

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