Taddeo Zuccaro


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(b Sant'Angelo in Vado, nr. Urbino, 1 Sept. 1529; d Rome, 2 Sept. 1566) and

(b Sant'Angelo in Vado, 18 Apr. 1540 or 1541; d Ancona, ?(20 July) 1609).

Italian Mannerist painters, brothers. Taddeo worked mainly in Rome and although he was only 37 when he died he had made a great name for himself as a fresco decorator, working most notably for the Farnese family in their palace at Caprarola. His style was based on Michelangelo and Raphael and tended to be rather dry and wooden. Federico took over his brother's flourishing studio, continuing the work at Caprarola and also the decoration of the Sala Regia in the Vatican (begun by Taddeo in 1561). His talent was no more exceptional than Taddeo's, but he became even more successful and won himself a European reputation—indeed for a time he was probably the most famous living painter. In 1574 he travelled via Lorraine and the Netherlands to England, where he is said to have painted many court portraits, although the only works dating from this visit that can be safely attributed to him are two drawings in the British Museum portraying Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. (Many anonymous portraits of the period have been improbably attributed to him.) After working in Florence, Rome, and Venice, he spent three years in Spain (1585–8), painting altarpieces and frescos for the Escorial. However, his visit was not a success, partly because his arrogance offended his Spanish colleagues. Back in Rome he was elected the first president of the new Accademia di S. Luca, founded in 1593 (see academy). Like many of his contemporaries he believed that correct theory would produce good works of art and he wrote several treatises, of which the most important is L'idea de' pittori, scultori, et architetti (1607). Zuccaro also worked as an architect, designing a doorway in the form of a grotesque face (one enters through the open mouth) for his house in Rome, the Palazzo Zuccaro, which he bequeathed to the Accademia to use as its headquarters (it is now the Biblioteca Hertziana). The two flanking windows are treated in similar bizarre fashion.

Subjects: Art.

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