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Agnolo Bronzino
Standing Nude Seen from the Rear
ca. 1541-42
Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence
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by Jerry Saltz

Put yourself in the position of an up-and-coming artist living in early-16th-century Italy. Now imagine trying to distinguish yourself from the other artists living in your town: Michelangelo, Raphael or Leonardo. Is it any wonder that the Italian High Renaissance lasted only 30 years? Popes and kings may have loved it, but artists needed to go try something else. You can’t compete with perfection.