As a young artist Passerotti left Bologna to visit Rome, where he studied under the painter Taddeo Zuccaro. They shared a mutual appreciation for the antique treasures that filled the city, and both were admirers Michelangelo’s work. Passerotti was based in Bologna for most of his career and ran a busy workshop, although he maintained links with Rome. He painted a number of altarpieces and was a celebrated portraitist, enjoying the revered patronage of popes and Bolognese nobles. More recently, the few genre scenes that Passerotti produced have received recognition. These scenes of fishmongers and butchers’ shops were inspired by the work of northern artists. In some of his pictures Passerotti included a sparrow as an emblematic signature, for ‘passerotto’ means little sparrow in Italian.