ZUCCARO, Federico
(b. ca. 1542, Sant'Angelo in Vado, d. 1609, Ancona)


Italian Mannerist painter, brother of Taddeo Zuccaro (1529-66). He took over his brother's fluorishing studio, continuing the work at Caprarola in the palace of the Farnese family, and also the decoration of the Sala Regia in the Vatican (begun by Taddeo in 1561). His talent was no more exceptional than Taddeo's, but he became even more successful and won himself a European reputation - indeed for a time he was probably the most famous living painter.

In 1573-74 he travelled via Lorraine and the Netherlands to England, where he is said to have painted portraits of the Queen and many courtiers, although only two drawings in the British Museum can safely be attributed to him. (Many anonymous portraits of the period are improbably attributed to him.) After working in Florence, Rome, and Venice, he was invited to the Escorial by Philip II of Spain, where he painted a number of altarpieces (1585-88).

Back in Rome he was elected the first President of the new Accademia di San Luca, founded in 1593, to which he later gave his house as headquarters. Like many of his contemporaries he believed that correct theory would produce good works of art and himself wrote L'Idea de' Pittori, Scultori, et Architetti (1607).

Zuccaro also worked as an architect, designing a doorway in the form of a grotesque face (one enters through the open mouth) for his own house (the Palazzo Zuccaro, now the Biblioteca Hertziana). The two flanking windows are treated in similar bizarre fashion.