Raphael’s Roman years, from 1508 till his sudden death in 1520, saw him undergoing one of the most prodigious periods of creative development in the history of Western art. His encounter with the ruins of antiquity and his continued assimilation of the inventions and approaches of his greatest contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, has been charted in detail by scholars, but his creative, and mutually influential rivalry with a third major figure, the Venetian painter Sebastiano del Piombo, has tended to be overlooked. Mostly, Sebastiano’s role has been cast as the proxy he in some ways was for Michelangelo in the great Florentine’s rivalry with Raphael, but his own aesthetic and technical contributions as an oil painter—the very qualities that attracted Michelangelo to him—have been underappreciated.
This lecture will attempt to chart the fiercely competitive and increasingly antagonist relationship between Raphael and Sebastiano—a situation that stimulated artistic breakthroughs for both painters, while also engendering those frequent occupational hazards for artists: paranoia and bitterness.
This event is organized by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto in collaboration with Istituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, & Washington D.C.