The Rome of Michelangelo and Sebastiano

Date and time

Monday 27 March, 1–1.45pm

Sainsbury Wing Theatre

Paul Strathern


Admission free

Although neither Michelangelo nor Sebastiano were Roman, both established their careers in the city. Writer Paul Strathern discusses the Rome that awaited their arrival: a place of grand palaces and homes belonging to popes, noble families and senior cardinals.

Yet outside these palaces lay a city of squalor and hovels. Dens inhabited by footpads, tawdry brothels and cockroach-ridden taverns had sprung up amongst the moss-covered former grandeur of ancient Rome, which now lay in ruins.

What impact did the city have on these two artists?

Paul Strathern

Paul Strathern is a writer and academic. He is author of ‘The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance’, ‘The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior: Leonardo, Machiavelli and Borgia – a Fateful Collusion’, and ‘The Spirit of Venice: From Marco Polo to Casanova’.

Lunchtime talks

Focus in on one painting with our talks in the Gallery, or explore wider themes in the collection at our in-depth theatre talks.

Supported by the John Armitage Charitable Trust 

Image above: Detail from Sebastiano del Piombo incorporating designs by Michelangelo, The Raising of Lazarus, about 1517–19