Two studies of a reclining male nude with his left arm raised


Two studies of a reclining male nude with his left arm raised

1543 to 1609 Italy

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In spite of the inscription Pelegrino Tibaldi by Skippe on his mount and the subsequent attributions to Cigoli and Jacopino del Conte, Nicholas Turner was the first to identify correctly this previously unpublished drawing as the work of Federico Zuccaro (1).The two beautiful chalk studies are preparatory to the fettered prisoner seen in the lower left hand corner of the fresco of Paul and Silas Praying in Prison, one of three scenes in the triangular vault above Michelangelo´s Conversion of Paul in the Cappella Paolina, in the Vatican, painted by the artist in 1580-1581.

After the execution of Michelangelo´s two famous frescoes, the chapel remained unfi¬nished until 1573 when the Bolognese artist Lorenzo Sabbatini was hired to complete the work. He painted three of four additional wall frescoes before his death in 1577. The project was then idled until 1580 when Federico Zuccaro was given the remainder of the commission (2). He finished the final wall and all ceiling decorations by December, 1581.

Over fifteen preparatory drawings for Federico´s paintings have thus far been identified, indicating among other things, that the artist considered several additional and alternate scenes to the ones finally represented, including a large altarpiece that was never execu¬ted. Of all drawings, only the present one is a chalk study of the studio model, thus de¬mon¬stra¬ting an important first stage in Federico´s working method.
John Skippe; Edward Holland-Martin; sale Christie´s, London, 20.11.1958, lot 78 (as attributed to Cigoli); sale Christie´s, London, 30.3.1976, lot 2 (as Cigoli); Agnew´s, Lon¬don, 1978 (as Jacopino del Conte)
Height 23.60 cm (9.29 inches)
Width 33.40 cm (13.15 inches)
Black chalk with traces of red and white chalk
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