Federico Zuccaro

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Federico Zuccaro
approximately 1540-1609
Submission of Emperor Frederick Barabarossa to Pope Alexander III in Venice
Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk, on paper.
10 3/8 x 8 7/16 inches (263 x 213 mm)
Gift of Janos Scholz.

Inscribed on verso, at lower center, in pen and brown ink, visible in transmitted light, "federico Zucchari".
Watermark: on old lining paper, Bird on three monti inside circle, surmounted by "M".

Padre Sebastiano Resta (1635-1714), Milan and Rome; Lord John Somers (1650-1716), England; Jean-Denis Lempereur (1701-1779), Paris; Sir Thomas Lawrence, London (1769-1830; Lugt 2445); Samuel Woodburn, London (1786-1853; no mark; see Lugt 2584); Lawrence-Woodburn sale, London, Christie's, 4-8 June 1860, lot 1074 (one of several drawings); Sir Thomas Phillips, London (1792-1872; no mark; see Lugt S. 924b); Mrs. Katherine Fenwick; by descent to T. Fitzroy Phillips Fenwick (1856-1938), Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham; A.S.W. Rosenbach, Philadelphia (1876-1952); purchased in New York in 1953 by Janos Scholz (1903-1993; no mark; see Lugt S. 2933b).

When Federico was exiled from Rome on 24 November 1581 for the Porta Virtutis affair (for which see 1974.25), he traveled to Florence and Venice in search of new commissions. In Venice the redecoration of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in the Ducal Palace, which had been destroyed by fire in 1577, was getting under way, and the Venetian senate entrusted Federico with the large and important painting Frederick Barbarossa Submitting to Pope Alexander III as a replacement for a work by Titian lost in the fire.1

The present drawing is probably the earliest of a series of vertical studies for this commission, which occupied the artist for most of 1582, though he did briefly return to it in 1603 on a later visit to Venice. It depicts the event that took place on 24 July 1177 outside of San Marco, in which the pope, supported by the doge, placed his foot upon the emperor, who kissed his other foot, thus signaling the reconciliation between the Holy Roman Emperor and the papacy mediated by the Venetian republic. The event is seen from the Piazzetta with the Torre dell’Orologio surmounted by the figures of two Moors sounding the bell in the background, a point of view inverse to that of the finished painting and of the other surviving vertical compositional drawings, in which we look towards the Canal Grande and the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore. Mundy plausibly suggests that Federico reversed the viewpoint once it was determined that the painting was to occupy the left half of a wall whose right side was to bear a painting by Palma Giovane. The Morgan drawing was probably preceded by a large horizontal drawing held in a private collection that seems to have been created before the exact size and location of the painting was determined and also shows San Marco on the right and the Torre dell’Orologio in the background.2

The final composition is represented in a modello-like drawing belonging to the J. Paul Getty Museum,3 of which there is a workshop copy at Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford,4 and also in a working drawing with numerous pentimenti that probably directly preceded it.5 A drawing in Copenhagen of a group of spectators, in pen and ink and squared in red chalk, is for the left part of the composition.6 Whereas the grand, detailed compositional designs were precisely drawn in pen and ink, with light brown wash, Federico preferred chalk—often a combination of red and black—for individual figures such as the one of a boy kneeling in prayer before a crucifix that was used for a figure in the center foreground. The recto of that same sheet appears to be connected with the repoussoir figure shown seated at the base of the column at the far left of the Morgan drawing.7 The figure of the boy’s mother was prepared in a chalk drawing now at Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford.8

With a total of twelve securely attributed drawings by Federico Zuccaro and ten by Taddeo spanning the full range of techniques and periods, the Morgan possesses an enviably rich and unique collection of works by these masters of late Roman and Florentine Mannerism.



  1. For further details on the painting, see Acidini Luchinat 1998–99, 1:133.
  2. The private collection drawing was sold at Sotheby’s, New York, 27 January 2010, lot 17; see Gere 1970, 132, under no. 21, fig. 1; New York and Chicago 1994, 403.
  3. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, inv. 83. gg.196. See Milwaukee and New York 1989–90, no. 87.
  4. Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford, inv. 1830. See Byam Shaw 1976, no. 553, pl. 301.
  5. Formerly Woodner Family Collection, inv. wd–135. See Milwaukee and New York 1989–90, no. 88.
  6. Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, inv. gb 5628. See Fischer Pace 2014, no. 25.
  7. Milwaukee and New York 1989–90, no. 89, as Woodner Family Collection, inv. wd–785; Woodner sale, Christie’s, London, 2 July 1991, lot 97.
  8. Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford, inv. 0216. See Byam Shaw 1976, no. 545, pl. 299.

Rhoda Eitel-Porter and and John Marciari, Italian Renaissance Drawings at the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 2019, no. 123.
Selected references: Venice 1957, 25, no. 25; Oakland and San Francisco 1959, no. 83; Gere 1970, 132, no. 21, pl. 14; Washington and elsewhere 1974-75, no. 31; Maiskaja 1980, 63; Held 1981, 173, 177; Fellows Report 20 1984, 318; Milwaukee and New York 1989-90, no. 86; New York and Chicago 1994, no. 85; Acidini Luchinat 1999, 2:132-34, 150n79, fig. 23; Cocke 2001, 47n38; Rosand 2012, fig. 294; Lorenzoni 2015, 100-111; Lorenzoni 2016, no. 16; New York and Washington 2018-19, 203n31.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Seventeenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1972-1974. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1976, p. 185-186.
J.A. Gere, "The Lawrence-Phillips-Rosenbach 'Zuccaro Album'," Master Drawings, VIII, 1970, 132, no. 21, pl. 14.
Oberhuber, Konrad, and Dean Walker. Sixteenth Century Italian Drawings From the Collection of János Scholz. Washington, D.C. : National Gallery of Art ; New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1973, no. 11, rep. (includes previous bibliography and exhibitions).
János Scholz, Italian Master Drawings, 1350-1800, from the János Scholz Collection, New York, 1976, no. 65, repr.


Taddeo Zuccaro was commissioned to redecorate the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in the Ducal Palace in Venice, which had been destroyed by fire in 1577. He was to paint the large and important fresco, "Frederick Barbarossa submitting to Pope Alexander III" as a replacement for a work by Titian destroyed by the fire.

Associated names: 

Resta, Sebastiano, former owner.
Somers, John Somers, Baron, 1651-1716, former owner.
Lempereur, Jean-Denis, 1701-1779, former owner.
Lawrence, Thomas, Sir, 1769-1830, former owner.
Woodburn, Samuel, 1785 or 1786-1853 former owner.
Phillips, Thomas, Sir, 1792-1872, former owner.
Fenwick, Katherine, former owner.
Fenwick, Thomas FitzRoy Phillipps, 1856-1938, former owner.
Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952, former owner.
Scholz, János, former owner.

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