Offered by Galerie Tarantino
Girolamo Muziano arrives from Brescia to Rome in 1550, after an apprenticeship between Venice and Padua, in the
Lambert Sustris and Domenico Campagnola workshops. It was from this date that he settled permanently in the papal city, becoming one of the undisputed protagonists of the Roman Maniera. From the 1560s, he entered the service of the greatest sponsors of his time, including Hippolyte d'Este and Matthieu Cointrel (Contarelli), the families Cesarini, Mattei, Della Valle, Altoviti, to name but a few. each. From 1574, he became the reference artist of Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572-1585), responsible for designing and producing the most important decorations of the pontificate.
Muziano worked several times and at different times of his career on the theme of handing over the keys. In 1567, he provided Cornelis Cort with a particularly detailed drawing on this subject for the production of a famous print: the composition, thanks to his engraving translation, was a great success, being used as a model for many other paintings. 1. The theme was then reviewed again for one of the
best works of the artist, the altar painting with The Remission of the Keys for the Chapel of the Avignonese Pietro Alfonso in Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome, documented in the first half of 1584 2. The drawing seems to be very closely related to this last painting by its composition, even if it could be advanced at the end of the seventies or at the very beginning of the eighties, thanks to stylistic correspondences with some leaves of this period, like the King at the foot (Louvre, DAG, inv., 10850) and the study for the Assumption of the Virgin (Rome, Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica, FC127667), both related to the lost decoration of the apse of Saint-Louis des Français (ca. 1574-75) 3. There are also similarities in the pose of the legs and in the arrangement of Christ's mantle in the drawing (Windsor, RCIN, inv 905142) for the Ascension of Christ of the Ceuli Chapel in Santa Maria in Vallicella Rome (1581-1582). 4 The fine diagonal hatches used in the figure of Saint Peter, like those of the draped Jesus folded on the chest, leaving the torso uncovered, are usual in the leaves of Muziano, who, in the drawings or preparatory sketches, often studies the naked bodies, to then dress them completely in the paintings in view of a greater adherence to the austere Tridentine principles.
The style of the drawing, in its monumentality and its "rocky" consistency, still reflects the style of Daniele da Volterra, with which Muziano had to train just arrived in Rome. Such Tuscan and Michelangeloic accents will then become less evident in the artist's elaborate drawings of the artist's later maturity, with faster features and mainly focused on an overall vision.
1. The drawing for the engraving of Cornelis Cort is in the Louvre (5095); there is a copy in the British Museum (inv 2.9.1981).
2. P. Tosini, Girolamo Muziano (1532-1592). Dalla Maniera alla Natura, Roma 2008, cat. A54, p. 440-441. There is also a
canvas today preserved in the Treasury of St. Peter of Rome, from the sacristy of the Beneficiati of the Vatican Basilica, which, although completely repainted in the nineteenth century is attested by the sources of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as a Muziano's work (Tosini 2008, cit., cat.P19, 493).
3. The drawing of the Louvre was returned to Muziano by Philip Pouncey (see J. Bean, (ed.), Italian Drawings of the Renaissance, exp, New York-Paris, 1974-1975, Paris 1974 Cat 34). On the works of Muziano for St. Louis of the French and related drawings, cf. P. Tosini, Matteo Contarelli committente to San Luigi dei Francesi da Muziano a Caravaggio, in
N. Gozzano, P. Tosini (eds.), La Cappella Contarelli in San Luigi dei Francesi. Arte e committenza nella di Roma di Caravaggio, Roma 2005, p. 11-26.
4. P. Tosini 2008, cit., Cat. A45, p. 423-424.