Palma was born into a Venetian family of artists. His father Antonio ran a successful workshop, and his great uncle was the renowned painter Palma Vecchio. In spite of this, Palma Giovane was virtually self-taught. In 1567 he caught the eye of the Duke of Urbino, whose patronage allowed him to study in Rome. There, Palma embraced the practice of making preparatory drawings (disegno), a custom that was traditionally associated with central Italy. He returned to Venice in the mid-1570s, where his blend of naturalism and moderate Mannerist exaggeration became popular. Palma’s work increasingly reflected his appreciation of the Venetian masters, particularly Jacopo Tintoretto. Following Tintoretto’s death in 1594, Palma became the city’s leading painter.