9. Federico Zuccari

Sant’Angelo in Vado circa 1540 – 1609 Ancona

Two Studies of a Head: Vincenzo Borghini, circa 1575 – 1579

Unlike more formal official portraits, these two studies from life are strongly naturalistic. Having observed his model closely, Federico Zuccari drew Vincenzo Borghini’s features faithfully and with a firm hand: the high, balding forehead with its wrinkles, the throbbing vein on his tem­ple, his asymmetrical eyes, high cheekbones and luxuri­ant beard. On the death of Giorgio Vasari, Zuccari was selected to finish the grand decoration of the cupola of the Duomo in Florence (1575-79). The iconographic pro­gramme of the dome had been designed by Borghini at the request of the Medici. A painting showing this emi­nent Florentine scholar and Zuccari, talking beside a model of the cathedral (Palazzo Zuccari, Rome) com­memorates the preparation of this important commission and bears witness – as does our drawing – to the relation­ship between the two men.