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Idealized head of a woman, called Zenobia
Bacchiacca (Copy: Michelangelo (Michelangelo Buonarroti))
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Bacchiacca (Copy: Michelangelo (Michelangelo Buonarroti))

Idealized head of a woman, called Zenobia

XVI century. Red chalk on paper. Not on display

This is a copy of the famous drawing by Michelangelo –the so-called Zenobia- formerly in de Granducal collection and now in the Uffizi, Florence (inv. no. 598 E). Vasari records the Uffizi drawing among those made by Michelangelo for the young nobleman Giovanni Perini in c. 1525. The curious subject matter has prompted a number of interpretations: among them Venus, Mars and Cupid; Venus, Vulcan and Cupid; and Zenobia and her child turning from her royal husband. The Prado drawing repeats faithfully and attractively the modeling of Michelangelo´s original, dwelling especially on the rendition of the halftones of the head and shoulders of the woman, with her splendid coiffure and headdress.

Whereas Michelangelo´s original is in black chalk, the Prado copy is in red, as are two other copies of the Uffizi drawing, one in the Nationalmuseum Stockolm (inv. no. 158/1863); and the other in the Musées des Beaux-Arts, Rennes (inv. no. 794.1.2927). The style of the Prado copy seems to indicate the draftsman was Florentine: the handling is too tentative for Francesco Salviati (1510-1563), who made several replicas of drawings by Michelangelo, and as Paul Joannides has suggested, a more likely alternative seems to be Francesco Ubertini, called Bacchiacca, who is now believed by some to have drawn the Rennes copy. Bacchiacca was a repetitive artist, and it would have been quite characteristic of him to have made a series of copies of the same original.

Turner, Nicholas, From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Chicago, Art Services International, 2008, p.319

Technical data

Inventory number
Bacchiacca (Copy: Michelangelo (Michelangelo Buonarroti))
Idealized head of a woman, called Zenobia
XVI century
Red chalk
Height: 315 mm.; Width: 235 mm.
Bequest of Pedro Fernández Durán y Bernaldo de Quirós, 1931

Bibliography +

Turner, Nicholas y Joannides, Paul, Some drawings by Michelangelo and his circle in the Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXI, 2003, pp. 17.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de dibujos. Dibujos italianos del siglo XVI (por Nicholas Turner, con la colaboración de José Manuel Matilla), V, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2004, pp. 319.

Turner, Nicholas, From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Art Services International, Chicago, 2008, pp. 319.

D'aprés Michelangelo /, Marsilio,, 2015, pp. 63-77 [66-69 n.9].

Other inventories +

Inv. Legado Pedro Fernández Durán, 1931. Núm. 380.



Exhibitions +

D´Aprés Michelangelo
29.09.2015 - 10.01.2016

Update date: 06-04-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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