Jacopo Zucchi Minerva at the Forge of Vulcan About 1565


Born about 1541
Died 1596
Nationality Italian

Zucchi was a painter and draughtsman who trained in the Florentine workshop of Giorgio Vasari. He was to become one of the more extreme exponents of the prevailing maniera or mannerist style, with elaborate, densely packed compositions, jarring disparities in scale, highly artificial figure poses, and often complex symbolic and allegorical subjects. His career was dominated by the patronage of members of the Medici family and their court. By 1557 Zucchi was already assisting Vasari on the vast decorative projects for Cosimo de’ Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio, and he also produced smaller-scale works for his successor as Grand Duke, Francesco I. He accompanied Vasari to Rome in 1567, and settled there permanently in 1772 as official painter to Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici, executing paintings for his Palazzo Firenze, frescoes in the Villa Medici, and a series of highly detailed cabinet pictures on panel or copper, which have a distinctly Flemish character. He also painted altarpieces and fresco decorations for numerous churches in Rome. Zucchi’s most memorable later work is the fresco decoration of the gallery of the Palazzo Rucellai-Ruspoli, the complex allegorical and astrological programme for which was devised by the artist himself rather than by a learned advisor.