The J. Paul Getty Museum

Taddeo in the House of Giovanni Piero Calabrese

Object Details


Taddeo in the House of Giovanni Piero Calabrese


Federico Zuccaro (Italian, about 1541 - 1609)




about 1595


Pen and brown ink, brush with brown wash, over black chalk and red chalk underdrawing

Object Number:



27.5 × 26.6 cm (10 13/16 × 10 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

Federico Zuccaro vividly conveyed a sense of the studio assistant's material and psychological life in Renaissance Rome in this beautiful nocturnal scene. At the back of the room, the light of the fire shows the young Taddeo Zuccaro grinding colors while his employer's wife looks over her shoulder to check what he is doing. It is a cold evening, and she has removed her shoe to warm her foot before the open grate. A cat hovers near the fire too, curled up on the ledge above the woman's head. In order to prevent Taddeo from having bread, his employer the minor painter Calabrese kept it in a basket attached to the ceiling in the center of the room. He attached a bell to the pulley and rope so that it would ring every time the basket was lowered.

Taddeo appears again at the front of the room, leaning against a low wall and holding an oil lamp so his master can examine a drawing. Calabrese glances up at his apprentice to make sure that he is not looking at the work by the revered artist Raphael, which he refused to allow Taddeo to copy. The inscription by Taddeo's pained face translates as, "Why do you deny me that which I love?"

One Hundred Original Drawings by Zucchero, Andrea del Sarto, Polidore da Caravaggio and Fra Bartolomeo (April 1836)
  • Lawrence Gallery (London), April 1 to April 30, 1836
Taddeo Zuccaro: An Artist's Life in Renaissance Rome (June 15 to August 29, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 15 to August 29, 1999
Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro: Artist-Brothers in Renaissance Rome (October 2, 2007 to January 6, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 2, 2007 to January 6, 2008