Federico Zuccaro, Italian (1540-1609) The Holy Ghost surrounded by Angels

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Lot 65*
Federico Zuccaro, Italian (1540-1609) The Holy Ghost surrounded by Angels

Sold for £ 5,875 (US$ 8,113) inc. premium
Federico Zuccaro, Italian (1540-1609)
Inscribed with 17th /18th century inventory number in brown ink on the verso: no. 146
Red and black chalk
362 x 267mm

Footnotes

  • This is a preliminary study for the angels surrounding the Holy Ghost in the upper register of the fresco St Peter Baptizing the centurion Cornelius at Cesarea in the Cappella Paolina in the Vatican. This chapel already contained Michelangelo's two last great frescoes The Conversion of St Paul and The Crucifixion of St Peter, painted in the 1550s. The new decorative campaign for the chapel was begun in 1573 under Pope Gregory XIII. He commissioned the Bolognese artist Lorenzo Sabbatini to complete the remaining walls and vaults, but Sabbatini finished only three frescoes before his death in 1577. In 1580 Federico was contracted to continue the programme.
    The present drawing reflects the final stage in the development of his ideas for the upper section of the fresco and appears to be a revision of the modello in the Louvre (inv. no. 2661, reproduced in the exhibition catalogue L'oeil du connaisseur. Hommage a Philip Pouncey (1910-1990), Musée du Louvre, 1992, cat. and fig. 74). The poses of several angels have been considerably altered: for example, in the Louvre drawing, the central angel at the lowest level on the left side
    leans forward with his elbows resting on the cloud, his hands together in prayer.In the present drawing this angel, his left arm upraised, is in a twisted pose, his head turned back to look across at his counterpart on the other side of the Holy Ghost. Most notably, the shape of the aura surrounding the Host is altered from a flattened circle in the Louvre modello to an oval in our drawing, the form used in the final painted version. The clouds at the composition's lowest point are parted in the Louvre drawing, allowing a brilliant shaft of light from the Holy Ghost to flood through to the scene of baptism below. In the present drawing the clouds close together, as in the fresco, separating the sacred from the earthly realm.
    Another drawing in the Louvre (inv. 2662) represents an earlier stage in the design of the fresco's upper register and a drawing in the Uffizi tries the foremost angels on the left in yet further variations of pose and gesture. The latter, as in the present drawing, eliminates St Peter's Vision of Joppa,/i>, a scene included in the Louvre modello and reinstated in the fresco.
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