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The artists represented in this room experimented with depicting the body and employing colour in dynamic ways in the decades around the turn of the sixteenth century.

Luca Signorelli was prolific across both Umbria and Tuscany. His particular interest in showing the human form in all its robust naturalism served as inspiration for his younger contemporary, Michelangelo.

First apprenticed as a painter in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio in Florence, Michelangelo then trained as a sculptor under the patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici. The National Gallery holds two of his rare surviving panel paintings, both unfinished and dating from his early years working between Florence and Rome.

Michelangelo, in turn, greatly influenced the Florentine artist Pontormo. Active in the first half of the sixteenth century, Pontormo studied under various painters, including Piero di Cosimo. His paintings depicting the Story of Joseph are prime examples of his innovative compositions, vivid use of colour and distinctive figure types.