Central and Northern Italy in the 16th century

This is a period of ambitious commissions—the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Tomb of Pope Julius II...

1500 - 1600

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Mannerism, an introduction
Mannerism, an introduction

What is mannerism, and why did it develop in the 16th century?

Printmaking in Europe, c. 1400−1800
Printmaking in Europe, c. 1400−1800

The portability and affordability of prints contributed to the exchange of information and ideas between cultures.

Who was Michelangelo?
Who was Michelangelo?

He was mythologized by followers, emulated by artists, celebrated by humanists, and patronized by a total of nine popes.

Raphael, an introduction
Raphael, an introduction

Raphael’s untimely death at the age of 37 while at the height of his visual powers only solidified the legend of his extraordinary talent.

Renaissance woman: Isabella d’Este
Renaissance woman: Isabella d’Este

In history classes, we often hear about renaissance men: Cosimo de’ Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, and Niccolò Machiavelli. Where were the women?

Michelangelo
Michelangelo

Michelangelo was known as il divino, (in English, “the divine one”) and it is easy for us to see why.

The Medici collect the Americas
The Medici collect the Americas

After Columbus landed on Hispaniola in 1492, items from the Americas were shipped to Europe where they were perceived as exotic items of wonder and fascination.

Leonardo, <em>The Mona Lisa </em>
Leonardo, The Mona Lisa

Such a tease! This ambiguous portrait plays psychological and optical games with the viewer.

Leonardo and his drawings
Leonardo and his drawings

From military machines to playful cats, Leonardo’s extraordinary drawings capture his incessant curiosity.

Michelangelo, Medici Chapel (New Sacristy)
Michelangelo, Medici Chapel (New Sacristy)

Night and day, rough and polish—this chapel embodies opposition and traps the viewer in a moment of transition.

Giambologna, <em>Abduction of a Sabine Woman</em>
Giambologna, Abduction of a Sabine Woman

With a complex, multi-figure composition, this monumental sculpture captures a moment from ancient Roman history.

Sofonisba Anguissola
Sofonisba Anguissola

Female painters were rare in sixteenth-century Italy. In self-portraits, Sofonisba made sure to appear virtuous.

Selected Contributors