By Livia Lupi
Painter Taddeo Zuccaro, or Zuccari, was born on 1 September 1529. As drawings by his brother Federico show, Taddeo trained in his father Ottaviano’s workshop, and became known in Rome as a painter of façades. Around 1553, he worked on the decoration of Villa Giulia in collaboration with Prospero Fontana, father of successful woman painter Lavinia. Taddei’s paintings at Villa Giulia demonstrate Raphael’s influence, but his oeuvre also borrows from Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo.
Taddei worked in several private chapels in important Roman churches, like the Mattei Chapel in Santa Maria della Consolazione (1553-55) and the Frangipane Chapel in San Marcello al Corso (from 1558). He also realised paintings in the palaces of illustrious clients like the Orsini family, for whom he painted episodes from the life of Alexander the Great in the Castello Orsini at Bracciano, and the Farnese, for whom he started the decoration of the Palazzo Farnese at Caprarola, realised by architect Jacopo Barozzi. Taddeo’s work at Palazzo Farnese kept him busy until his death at the age of thirty-seven. The Palazzo Farnese paintings were then completed by his brother Federico.
Reference: “Zuccari, Taddeo,” Enciclopedia Treccani
“Taddeo Zuccari,” Marchigiani nel mondo, Regione Marche
John A. Gere. Taddeo Zuccaro. His Development Studied in His Drawings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969.
E. James Mundy. Renaissance into Baroque. Italian Master Drawings by the Zuccari, 1550-1600. Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1989.
See also Anne Leader’s post commemorating Taddeo’s death: http://italianartsociety.tumblr.com/post/128178540562/by-anne-leader-taddeo-zuccaro-died-on-this-day-in
Bacchanal, 1551, Villa Giulia, Rome. Fresco.
Royal Entry of Charles V, Francis I of France and Cardinal Alessandro Farnese into Paris, 1559, Villa Farnese, Caprarola. Fresco.
Conversion of St Paul, c.1558, Frangipane Chapel, San Marcello al Corso. Rome. Fresco.
Alexander the Great and Bucephalus, c. 1553, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Pen and brown ink with brown wash.