----- Original Message -----
From: Dmitri Nabokov
Sent: Saturday, October 18, 2003 1:25 PM
Subject: A few more words about del Piombo

Further to my good friend Dieter's comments about del Piombo: I presume Dieter's Vasari, like mine, is the nine-volume Sansoni (Florence), in elderly Italian, which was edited between 1878 and 1885 by Gaetano Milanesi, whose notes and commentary are a philological marvel. The section on del Piombo (vol. 4, pp.565-586) is packed with fascinating information -- his association with Michangelo and much else --, all of which would fill many e-mail pages. The artist's father was named Luciano Luciani. Sebastian, at the time spelled minus the final "o" in the Venetian manner, was later dubbed "Viniziano" because the city itself was then called "Vinezia." He lived from 1485 (a century and a half after my distant relative Cangrande della Scala had died after extending his influence from Verona to rule Venice), to 1547. His early love was music. He sang and played several instruments, principally the lute with fellow virtuoso musicians, until, still a youth, he decided to concentrate on painting. He eventually moved to Rome and frequented many of the finest painters of his day (not only Michelangelo but also Luciani's own teacher Giorgione, Raffaello, et al.), transmitting the influence of the Venetian School he had left behind and absorbing much from theirs. Under Pope Clement's aegis, he became a monk, and, as had been promised, inherited the appellation "del Piombo" (from piombo, the lead sealing the papal bulls of which he became Chancellor). At one time it was thought that Fra Sebastian and Fra Marco Pensaben were one and the same, but that myth was subsequently exploded. I think I had best stop here, and leave those who are interested to consult Giorgio Vasari's monumental work, which is doubtless available in most good university libraries.