'Adam and Eve', 1518, by Jacopo Carrucci, known as Pontormo, is the centrepiece of Nicholas Hall’s Grey Matters exhibition in New York.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

A prime example of the artist’s private work, the small painting is noted for its unusual grisaille technique (rarely used in Pontormo’s oeuvre) and the subject, which shows Adam and Eve at work after the fall of man with the first children, Cain and Abel, at their feet.

Burlington Magazine described it last year as a “major discovery for the art of the Florentine Renaissance” and it has already found a buyer for an undisclosed sum ahead of the show’s opening on January 25.

Titled Grey Matters, the exhibition is drawn from American museums and private collections and examines the concept of ‘paragone’ through Pontormo’s grisaille technique. Paragone was popularised by Leonardo da Vinci and sparked vigorous debates in Renaissance Italy concerning the superiority of painting or sculpture.

A range of artworks produced between late-15th century and early 16th century is for sale with prices starting in five figures.