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Taddeo Drawing Laocoön

February 7, 2011


Taddeo in the Belvedere Court in the Vatican, Drawing the Laocoön

Fedderico Zuccaro 1595.


Getty Museum.

“Ecco qui, o Giuditio, osservando
Va de l’antico, e Polidoro il fare
E l’opre insiem di Rafael studiando.

Look here, O Judgment, how he observes
the antique and Polidoro’s style
as well as Raphael’s work he studies. (Brooks 33-34)”

Federico Zuccaro produced a series of drawings at the end 16th century called “The Early Life of Taddeo”.  These drawings, now held in the Getty Museum, are a remarkable display of Federico’s strong observational skills, as well as a show of Taddeo’s growth as an artist (Brooks 7).

Taddeo in the Belvedere Court in the Vatican, Drawing the Laocoön is of particular significance to Baroque art because it emphasizes the importance to artists of drawing from nature and from classical antiquity.  It was thought that the classical masters of antiquity had a full grasp on nature, and so copying a work such as the Laocoön from the first century BC was a step in the right direction for a young learning artist.

Federico drew Taddeo seated in the Belevedere Courtyard, surrounded by classical sculpture – a dream world for any eager artist of the time.  Works depicted in Federico’s drawing include Laocoön and His Two Sons, Apollo Belevedere, and Tiber and Nile, the river god sculptures.  Unfortunately, such a vast array and contrappasto of works are no longer located all together in the Courtyard.   They are now in the Vatican Museums, where one can still stand in awe of the classical masters, just as the Zuccaro brothers once did.

Brooks, Julian.  Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro: Artist-Brothers in Renaissance Rome. Los Angeles: Getty Publications. 2007.

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