FEDERICO ZUCCARO (Sant’Angelo in Vado 1539-1609 Ancona)
Design for the two outer wings of an altarpiece with a group of virgin martyrs and other female saints
with number ‘[N]o. 659’ (verso)
red chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash heightened with white, on light brown paper, watermark coat of arms with letters below
1312 x 10 in. (34 x 25 cm)
Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), London (L. 2445); to his creditor,
Samuel Woodburn (1786-1853), London; Christie’s, London, 4 June 1860, part of lot 1074.
Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), London; by descent to
Thomas Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick (1856-1938), London.
Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach (1876-1952), Philadelphia.
The British Rail Pension Fund; Sotheby’s, London, 11 January 1990, lot 40.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, New York, 9 January 1996, lot 16.
J. A. Gere, ‘The Lawrence-Phillipps-Rosenbach Zuccaro Album’, Master Drawings, VIII, no. 2, Summer 1970, no. 15, ill.
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Lot Essay

The present study cannot be connected to any work by Federico Zuccaro, although a similar group of female saints occurs in the North-West section of the cupola of the Duomo in Florence, but the group occupies only half of the width of the section and the figures are not grouped symmetrically as they are here. The vertical division at the center and the shape at top indicate that the two halves of the composition were intended to decorate the outside of the wings of a reliquary altar, which when opened would have revealed shelves containing relics. Zuccaro decorated two altars of this type at the Escorial in 1586-1588 (C. Acidini Luchinat, Taddeo e Federico Zuccari, Fratelli pittori del Cinquecento, Milan, 1999, II, pp. 155-159, figs. 2-9). The drawing was once part of an album, now dismembered, consisting of 74 drawings by Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro, formerly owned by Thomas Lawrence and bought by Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), collector of books, manuscripts and drawings. The album was dismantled by his heir T. Fitzroy Fenwick.

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