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Study for the Last Judgement in the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

Accession Number
1973/2.81

Title
Study for the Last Judgement in the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

Artist(s)
Federico Zuccaro

Object Creation Date
circa 1576

Medium & Support
pen, brown ink and wash on buff paper

Dimensions
12 1/16 in x 20 ¼ in (30.64 cm x 51.43 cm);22 ⅛ in x 28 ⅛ in (56.2 cm x 71.44 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
One of the scenes for the Last Judgement in the octagonal cupola of the Duomo in Florence. Original pen and ink drawing, heightened with wash. 12 1/16 x 20 1/4 inches. On an old mount.The decoration of the cupola was begun by Vasari and was unfinished at the time of his death in 1574. It was completed by Federigo Zuccaro between 1576 and 1579 "and he was certainly responsible for this part of the west face." This drawing corresponds very closely with part of the second of the five concentric zones of figures representing the Last Judgement. This particular detail is on the west face of the cupola. A number of drawings by Zuccaro for this cupola are described by John Gere. Another one was included as item 26 in a sale of drawings at Sotheby's, December 8, 1972. The present drawing was unknown to Mr. Gere when he issued his work, but he has since confirmed the attribution.Light foxing; small waterstain at the upper left corner. Trace of centerfolds, and a few minor imperfections particularly at the left edge.Watermark: eagle within circle.
---
Federico Zuccaro
Italy, circa 1541–1609
Study for the Last Judgment in the Dome of Florence Cathedral
circa 1576
Pen, brown ink, and wash
on buff paper
Museum purchase, 1973/2.81
Taddeo invited Federico to Rome sometime between 1555 and 1563, where the two brothers collaborated on a number of projects, including the decoration of the Sala Regia, which Federico continued after Taddeo’s death in 1566. Unlike his brother, who had worked only in Rome and its environs, Federico travelled widely during his long career. It was upon returning in 1575 from a journey to Spain, the Netherlands, and England that he was commissioned to complete the frescoes in the famous dome of Florence cathedral.
The drawing here captures Federico’s plan for decorating the western segment of the dome as part of a Last Judgment scene in which Christ separates the blessed from the damned at the end of time. One of the putti in the design holds Christ’s robe and another the dice that were cast for it during the Crucifixion, much as putti in adjacent parts of the decorative scheme carry the other instruments of Christ’s Passion. The two putti in the upper corners of the drawing seem to support the architectural cornice at the top of the dome, thus blurring the boundary between the heavenly vision painted by Federico and the dome’s physical structure.
(6/28/10)

Subject matter
Federico Zuccaro executed this drawing in preparation for the monumental fresco that he painted on the interior of the dome of Florence cathedral. The drawing was for the upper register of the western segment of the dome, where they form part of a Last Judgment scene. One of the putti holds Christ's robe and another the dice that were cast for it during the Crucifixion, much as putti in adjacent parts of the decorative scheme carry the other instruments of Christ's Passion, including the lance and crown of thorns. The two putti in the upper corners of the drawing seem to support the architectural cornice at the top of the dome, thus blurring the boundary between painted decoration and the actual architecture.

Physical Description
This is a preparatory drawing of a group of putti that form part of the painted decoration of the dome of Florence cathedral. The most striking figures are the putti in the upper corners of the drawing who support an architectural cornice and a pair of putto that appear between them. One of these putti holds a shirt and his companion holds three dice. Myriad other putti are rendered more lightly to give the impression that they are positioned in the background.

Primary Object Classification
Drawing

Primary Object Type
study

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
angels (spirits)
cards (information artifacts)
domes (architectural elements)
preparatory drawings
putti (motifs)
shirts (main garments)

3 Related Resources

Death and Dying
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Symbolism in Italian Renaissance Art 
(Part of: Histart 250: Italian Renaissance Art )

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display