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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Unfinished business—Michelangelo and the Pope
Unfinished business—Michelangelo and the Pope

Michelangelo left many sculptures unfinished, but perhaps none are more beautiful than the slaves.

The Sack of Rome in 1527
The Sack of Rome in 1527

The Sack of Rome in 1527 had a long-lasting impact on the cultural and artistic life of papal Rome.

Benvenuto Cellini, Salt Cellar
Benvenuto Cellini, Salt Cellar

Cellini's salt cellar was prized as luxury tableware and was also an intellectual conversation starter in renaissance France.

Replicating Michelangelo
Replicating Michelangelo

Replicas form a vital component of Michelangelo’s legacy, and they have helped transform him into a global cultural icon

Michelangelo, <em>David</em>
Michelangelo, David

Where’s Goliath? David scans for his enemy. This colossal sculpture is itself a giant of High Renaissance art.

Nicola da Urbino, a dinner service for a duchess
Nicola da Urbino, a dinner service for a duchess

A service made for Isabella d'Este, the most important female patron of the Renaissance.

Tiny timelines: Michelangelo in context
Tiny timelines: Michelangelo in context

What was happening in the world during Michelangelo's lifetime?

Medici porcelain, a failed experiment
Medici porcelain, a failed experiment

The powerful Medici family of Florence tried—and failed—to make true Chinese porcelain in the 16th century.

Jacopo Pontormo, <em>Entombment</em> (or <em>Deposition from the Cross</em>)
Jacopo Pontormo, Entombment (or Deposition from the Cross)

This altarpiece lacks setting and symbols, but it’s hardly empty. Moving figures fill the space.

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.

Selected Contributors