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Jacopo Zucchi

May - 3 - 2013

Jupiter(1589-92)Fresco Palazzo Ruspoli, Roma

Jacopo Zucchi was a Florentine painter of the Mannerist style, active in Florence and Rome. The artist was born in 1541 and died in 1590. Jacopo Zucchi trained with Giorgio Vasari. While assisting in the decoration of Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio as early as 1557 and again between 1563 and 1565, he learning Vasari’s allusions and conceits. He was in Rome from the papacy of Gregory XIII (1572-85). He painted many paintings to his patron Cardinal Ferdinando de’Medici, including those for the Studiolo in the Villa Medici in Rome. Zucchi’s earliest drawing dates from a trip with Vasari to Pisa in 1561. In 1564 Zucchi entered the Accademia del Disegno and helped with Michelangelo’s funeral decorations.

In Rome, the light-dark painting of Caravaggio impressed him, while compositional solutions can in part be traced to Bartholomeus Spranger, who was resident in Rome.  He painted the grand salon of the former Rucellai (now Ruspoli) palace in Rome with mythologic genealogies. Two canvases, representing the Ascension and Resurrection, are housed in the church of San Lorenzo Martire in San Lorenzo Nuovo (Italy). His brother Francesco became a noted mosaicist, and died in 1621.

By 1572 Zucchi’s relations with Vasari may have soured. He moved to Rome  where he was appointed to the Medici court of Cardinal Ferdinando I de’Medici (1549 – 1609), and absorbing a further influence in Roman art, such as Raphael’s (1483 – 1520) Roman period and that of Federico Zuccari (1542 – 1609). Here in Rome he painted in Ferdinando’s Palazzo Firenze and also in the Palazzo Rucellai. Of his work painted in Rome for Ferdinando are the Age of Silver, The Age of Iron and The Age of Gold, all in the Uffizi Gallery now.

His frescoes in the Palazzo Rucellai and Palazzo di Firenze show Federico Zuccaro’s influence, to which Zucchi added his own lively design. About thirty drawings are attributed to Zucchi, including pen sketches, brush and gouache composition sketches, and decorative architectural drawings. He also made easel paintings and altarpieces.

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