A deeply religious painter, Muziano brought a breadth of influence and skill of landscapes to his creations. In Rome, where he settled in 1550, he became known as Il Giovane dei Paesi, meaning the young man of the landscapes. He first studied in Padua under the Venetian painter Domenico Campagnola (1500 – 1564) and also with the Dutch painter, Lambert Sustris (1515 – 1584). This led him to Venice, where Sustris and Campagnola where both known to have worked as well.
In Venice, Muziano was influenced by Titian (1485 – 1576) and then traveling to Rome he was influenced by Michelangelo (1475 – 1564). This gave his paintings an interesting combination the highly sculptural figures from Michelangelo and the color rich landscapes of Titian. From his long career in Rome he also took in the influence of Sebastiano del Piombo (1485 – 1547), who also painted with this combination of Venetian colors and monumental Roman figures. There is also a noted influence in Muziano’s work from the Roman Mannerist painter, Taddeo Zuccari (1529 – 1566).
Muziano gained most of his recognition while working in Rome, and it is said that Michelangelo praised his piece, Raising Lazarus or Resurrection of Lazarus, painted for the Colonna Palace in Subiaco, now in the Vatican Pinacoteca. One of his most notable landscapes was painted as background for Battista Franco’s (1510 – 1561) altarpiece, Resurrection for the richly decorated Roman Church, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, which houses Michelangelo’s sculpture, Christ the Redeemer.
His other notable works include the Church of Gesù altarpiece, Circumcision, paintings in the Roman basilica, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and his Saint Jerome preaching to Monks in the Desert in Rome’s Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. Works such as his Assumption of the Virgin, give good example of the exalted religious style he turned to in later years, abandoning much of his landscape inclusions. Though, throughout all his painting in Rome, Muziano strived for the ideal of the Counter-Reformation movement of the time. In a famous account of the artist, he is said to have shaved his head to avoid any distractions of passion other than religion and painting. Additional to his religious works, he also executed portraits, one of which now hangs in the Uffizi Gallery.
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