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Study for The Allegory of Spring

Artist:
Federico Zuccaro (Zuccari) (Italian, Sant'Angelo in Vado 1540/42–1609 Ancona)
Date:
1579
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, over red chalk and black chalk, brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache
Dimensions:
sheet: 8 11/16 x 13 3/4 in. (22 x 35 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Ian Woodner Family Collection Fund, 2002
Accession Number:
2002.96
Not on view
Related to the frescoed ceiling of Federico's home in Florence ('Casa Zuccari'), this newly discovered drawing presents the season of Spring as a combat between Chastity and Love. In the central fountain, a virgin is seated beside a unicorn who purifies the fountain with his horn. At left, the chaste nymphs of the huntress Diana are seen bathing, while at right other nymphs dance around a statue of Flora and are attacked by cupids' arrows. All these features appear in the fresco, but the drawing contains additional figures-nymphs of Diana who break one cupid's bow and bind another, as well as cupids who fight with each other. The more complicated iconography of the drawing, together with its rectangular format-the fresco fields are irregularly shaped-and elaborate border, suggest that Federico may have planned to publicize this private project through an engraving.

This drawing by Federico Zuccaro, a study for the Allegory of Spring, of 1577-79, was preparatory for the fresco-cycle in the ground floor of his house in Florence: this "Casa Zuccaro" at Via del Mandorlo constituted an extensive rebuilding of what had been the house of Andrea del Sarto, a property which had also belonged to the Sangallo Family. The monumental Metropolitan sheet by Federico Zuccaro (correctly identified before the time of its acquisition) exhibits an extensive underdrawing in black chalk, with numerous pentimenti, may illustrate one of the earliest ideas for the project since the design may have initially been intended for a wall, instead of a 'riquadro' on a vault or ceiling as in the final fresco, and since the composition is also much more complex (nearly confusing in its prolixity of elements), with respect to the final fresco and the other surviving preparatory drawings (in Rome, Lisboa, and Florence).
(Carmen C. Bambach)
Inscription: Annotated on verso toward center by early hand in pen and brown ink: "72."
Hôtel Drouot, Paris, December 19, 2001, lot 186; Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 22, 2002–July 14, 2002.

Carmen C. Bambach "Tuscan Drawings of the Quattrocento and Cinquecento in the Metropolitan Museum of Art 1998-2005." Invisibile agli occhi: Atti della giornata di studio in ricordo di Lisa Venturini. Ed. by Nicoletta Baldini, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell'Arte Roberto Longhi, Florence, 2007, fig. no. 103, pp. 84, 94 n. 62, ill.

Wendy Thompson "Federico Zuccaro's Love Affair with Florence: Two Allegorical Designs." Metropolitan Museum Journal. vol. 43, 2008, pp. 84-92, 95, figs. 11, 17, 20.



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