Daniele da Volterra

(c. 1509—1566)

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(b Volterra, c.1509; d Rome, 4 Apr. 1566).

Italian Mannerist painter and sculptor, perhaps trained in Siena under Sodoma. In about 1536 he moved to Rome, where he became a friend of Michelangelo and one of his most gifted and individual followers. Michelangelo helped to gain him commissions and (as with Sebastiano del Piombo) supplied him with drawings to work from, but Daniele's finest picture owes little to the direct influence of the master. This is his fresco of the Deposition (c.1545) in the Cappella Orsini in S. Trinità dei Monti, Rome, a powerful and moving work, based compositionally on Rosso's famous painting of the same subject in Volterra, but with an eloquent richness of its own. It was one of the most admired works of its generation in Rome and continued to be influential into the next century: Domenichino (Hatton Gal., Newcastle upon Tyne) was among the artists who copied it, and Rubens was clearly inspired by it in his painting of the subject in Antwerp Cathedral. Daniele was present at Michelangelo's deathbed and his most famous work of sculpture is a bronze bust of him based on the death mask (casts are in the Casa Buonarroti, Florence; the Louvre, Paris; and elsewhere). Ironically, in view of his devotion to the master, Daniele is perhaps best remembered for painting draperies (1564–5) over the nude figures in Michelangelo's Last Judgement, a concession to Counter-Reformation prudery that earned him the nickname ‘Il Braghettone’ (the breeches-maker).

Subjects: Art.

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