Federico Zuccaro

Datesabout 1541 - 1609

After Titian's death in 1576, Federico Zuccaro may have been the most famous painter in Europe as well as the most influential, traveling widely and creating a huge number of works, largely of religious subjects. The son of a painter in Urbino, he absorbed Mannerism in Rome under his brother Taddeo, who was a dozen years his senior. When Taddeo died in 1566, Federico took over his flourishing practice while continuing to travel. Zuccaro worked in the Netherlands, England, Spain, and throughout Italy for the most prominent patrons. England's Queen Elizabeth sat for a portrait, the Spanish king hired him to work extensively on his palace El Escorial, he completed Giorgio Vasari's frescoes in the dome of the Florence Cathedral, and he worked in the Vatican.

Zuccaro endured hostile reactions to his work, too. In 1583, due to a scandal over a painting in which Federico caricatured his detractors, the pope temporarily banished him from Rome. Ten years later, Zuccaro helped to found the Accademia di San Luca in his own palazzo in Rome, becoming its director in 1598 and publishing a treatise on art theory. He also did architectural work: Rome's Palazzo Zuccaro, now the Biblioteca Hertziana, features a doorway he designed in the form of a grotesque face.