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Ambassador Carondelet and two secretaries are depicted here in a form that pleased art historian Giorgio Vasari and this painting was originally attributed to Raphael, a rival artist to Sebastiano during his time in Rome.
Carondelet was from the north of Europe and perhaps this influenced the artist in how he depicted him, fairly simply in truth. There was no grand display here, he was busy at his desk working hard. It was perhaps the request of the donor to be captured this way as he wanted to be known and remembered as having a strong work ethic and an honourable man rather than the grander appearance that many others have chosen.
The sculptured architecture oozes the influence of Rome, whilst the stunning background scene that sits to the right hand side is unashamedly Giorgione-esque. Artists would travel during this period as much as possible in order to study new ideas and Sebastiano's work is very clear in who influenced which elements of his paintings. Venetian and Roman schools had specific approaches which he married together successfully in a way that carried favour with donors from both regions.
This painting can be found in the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain. This prestigious museum may not be the highest profile in the city but does boast an impressive permanent collection that would rival most institutions in the world. A visit here will also offer paintings by the likes of Duccio di Buoninsegna, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Albrecht Dürer, Vittore Carpaccio, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Holbein.