Taddeo Drawing by Moonlight in Calabrese's House
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Federico Zuccaro
Italian, about 1595
Pen and brown ink, brush with brown wash, over black chalk
16 9/16 x 6 15/16 in.

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Federico Zuccaro noted that, "When [his brother Taddeo] was living in the house of Calabrese he could never make drawings in the daytime and hardly ever in the evenings, and at night he had to go to bed in the dark because he was grudged even a drop of oil for a lamp; but his desire was so great that he would get up and draw by moonlight on the windows." Here Taddeo Zuccaro has leapt out of bed half-dressed in order to frantically sketch the Tiber river, Castel Sant'Angelo, and the dome of Saint Peter's basilica under construction by moonlight. He has only had time to put on one slipper, while the rest of his clothing lies haphazardly beside the bed in the corner. Federico added many small details of everyday life: the chamber pot under the bed, the jagged board Taddeo used to support his paper, and the shutters on whose makeshift surfaces he has drawn figures. These all create a vivid impression of a young artist's material life in Renaissance Rome.