Room 8

Florence and Rome 1500–1560

During the early 16th century, artists responded to their patrons’ desire to promote a renaisssance of classical ideals with paintings that increasingly reveal the study of nature and ancient sculpture.

Fra Bartolommeo's devotional pictures are notable for their harmonious colour and idealised but recognisably Tuscan landscapes. The Florentine Michelangelo, primarily a sculptor, isolated the human body to give his compositions a monumental grandeur.

Raphael came to Florence in around 1505 and brilliantly combined both approaches. In 1508, he joined Michelangelo in Rome where both artists worked for Pope Julius II and his successor.

Their rivalry was notorious. Michelangelo helped design Sebastiano del Piombo’s huge Raising of Lazarus, in successful competition with Raphael for the commissioning of an altarpiece for Narbonne Cathedral in France.