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Rome was the centre of the European art world during the 17th century. Painters from the Netherlands, Germany and France considered a period of study in Rome as an essential part of their training.

Many of the small paintings in this room were made to satisfy the growing number of enthusiastic collectors who emerged during the Baroque era. While religious images were ostensibly intended for private devotion, they were also created as works of art for galleries or collectors’ cabinets. Some artists painted on copper or slate because the slick surfaces emphasised their extraordinarily refined handling of pain