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Taddeo Zuccaro

Taddeo Zuccaro (1529-1566), one of the most popular painters of the so-called Roman mannerist school, was the son of Ottaviano Zuccaro, an almost unknown painter at St Angelo in Vado, where he was born in 1529. Taddeo found his way to Rome, and he succeeded at an early age in gaining a knowledge of painting and in finding patrons to employ him. When he was seventeen a pupil of Correggio, named Daniele da Parma, engaged him to assist in painting a series of frescoes in a chapel at Vitto near Sora, on the borders of the Abruzzi. Taddeo returned to Rome in 1548, and began his career as a fresco painter, by executing a series of scenes in monochrome from the life of Marcus Furius Camillus on the front of the palace of a wealthy Roman named Jacopo Mattei. From that time his success was assured, and he was largely employed by the popes Julius III and Paul IV, by Delia Rovere, duke of Urbino, and by other rich patrons.

His best frescoes were a historical series painted on the walls of a new palace at Caprarola, built for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, for which Taddeo also designed a great quantity of rich decorations in stucco relief after the style of Giulio Romano and other pupils of Raphael. Nearly all his paintings were in fresco, very large in scale, and often in chiaroscuro or monochrome; they were more remarkable for rapidity of execution and a certain boldness of style than for any higher qualities. His work is mannered in style, artificial and pompous in conception, and lacks any close or accurate knowledge of the human form and its movements. He died in Rome in 1566, and was buried in the Pantheon, not far from Raphael.

Taddeo's easel pictures are less common than his decorative frescoes. A small painting on copper of the Adoration of the Shepherds, formerly in the collection of James II, is now at Hampton Court; it is a work of very small merit. The Caprarola frescoes were engraved and published by Prenner, Illustri Fatti Farnesiani Coloriti nel Real Palazzo di Caprarola (Rome, 1748-50).

From an old 1911 encyclopedia