The Submission of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to Pope Alexander III

Object Details

Title:

The Submission of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to Pope Alexander III

Artist/Maker(s):

Federico Zuccaro (Italian, about 1541 - 1609)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1585

Medium:

Pen and brown ink, brown wash and black chalk on two joined sheets of paper

Dimensions:

55.2 x 54 cm (21 3/4 x 21 1/4 in.)

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A crowd of Venetians gathers to observe the dramatic submission of the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to Pope Alexander III. Soldiers and clerics mingle with children and dogs. Federico Zuccaro filled the scene with small details, noting everything from the delicate carving in the arches of the cathedral to the boats in the harbor and the men peering around the columns to better view the scene below.

Zuccaro made this drawing in preparation for a painting for the Palazzo Ducale, Venice, which was to replace Tintoretto's version destroyed by fire. Zuccaro drew an event that took place in 1177, more than four hundred years earlier. Emperor Frederick I, nicknamed "Barbarossa" or "Red Beard" by the Italians, had tried to invade Italy and set up his own pope, which led Pope Alexander to excommunicate him. Frederick withdrew temporarily but then returned, captured Rome, and was in the midst of preparing further attacks when his army was destroyed by disease. After his defeat, he agreed to recognize Alexander and was triumphantly accepted back into the Catholic Church.

Exhibitions
Mannerism into Baroque: Drawings by the Zuccari from North American Collections (March 13 to April 29, 1990)
  • National Academy of Design Museum, (New York), March 13 to April 29, 1990, (Cat.)
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993, (Cat. 119)
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994, (Cat. 54)