Lot 19
  • 19

Antenore Ridolfi, active in the second half of the 16th Century

10,000 - 15,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ceiling of the Sala delle Guardie, Palazzo Farnese, Caprarola
  • Black chalk and two tones of brown wash, with color notations in pen and brown ink (Some stylus indentations. Several losses made up);
    signed and inscribed, verso: Io. Antinor pittor da sto angelo in vado / -1567 / Facta in Caprarola Nel palazo del Illmo et Revermo Cardinal Farnese. 
Black chalk and two tones of brown wash, with color notations in pen and brown ink


Sale, London, Sotheby's, 25 June 1970, lot 32 (as Giovanni Antinor);
Ben Weinreb, London 1973;
Sir Timothy Clifford (bears his mark, not in Lugt),
his sale, London, Sotheby's, The Clifford Collection, 3 July 1989, lot 43 (as Giovanni Antinor),
Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman


Kendal, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, 16th and 17th century Italian Drawings, 1981, no. 54


Loren W. Partridge, 'The Sala d'Ercole in the Villa Farnese at Caprarola', Art Bulletin, LIII, 4, 1971, p. 472, notes 28, 30 and p. 475, fig. 12;
Italo Faldi, Il Palazzo Farnese di Caprarola, Turin, 1981, p. 29;
Bonita Cleri, 'Officina Familiare', Per Taddeo e Federico Zuccari nelle Marche, exhib. cat., Sant'Angelo in Vado, Palazzo Fagnani, 1993, p. 101, reproduced p. 104;
Cristina Acidini Luchinat, Taddeo e Federico Zuccari, fratelli pittori del Cinquecento, Milan, 1999, reproduced p. 23, fig. 41;
Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò, I disegni del Codice Resta di Palermo, Milan, 2007, p. 86, under no. 29, reproduced p. 88, fig. 4

Catalogue Note

This extremely important drawing is a preparatory design for the ceiling of the Sala delle Guardie, in the entrance hall of the magnificent Palazzo Farnese, at Caprarola (fig. 1).  The commission for the decoration of the villa was given to Taddeo Zuccaro, but at his death the work was continued, from 1566 to 1569, by Federico Zuccaro and assistants.  The present sheet was identified as the work of Antenore Ridolfi, a younger relative of both Taddeo and Federico, by Bonita Cleri in 1993.1  The final fresco differs from this drawing only in the landscapes and flanking vignettes, otherwise the general design of the decoration is the same. The coat of arms of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese is in the center of the ceiling, flanked by those of the family and of his brother, Duke Ottavio.  In the four corners are ovals containing the main imprese of Cardinal Alessandro: Pegasus, signifying his eloquence and his literary patronage; a Virgin with a Unicorn, representing purity as a defence against adversity; an arrow hitting a target, signifying direction and purpose in life; and the Argonaut, representing the Farnese triumph in the war for Parma against Pope Julius III.2 

Another signed and inscribed drawing by Antenore Ridolfi was formerly in the Rosenbach Foundation, Philadelphia, and the collection of the British Rail Pension Fund; it is the study for the circular vault of the Chapel, in the Palazzo Farnese, at Caprarola, which illustrates a letter to Federico Zuccaro, dated 20th September 1566.3.  A further drawing by Antenore Ridolfi has also recently been identified and published by Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò.  This double-sided sheet is again related to the decorations at Caprarola: on the recto there is a study for the ceiling of the Sala di Giove, and on the verso a study for the circular vault of the Chapel. This drawing is preserved in the Biblioteca Comunale, Palermo.4   Both these sheets came from the collection of Padre Sebastiano Resta.

1. C. Acidini Luchinat, op.cit., Milan 1999, p. 16  

2. Faldi, op. cit., pp. 261-63

3. J.A. Gere,'The Lawrence-Phillips-Rosenbach Zuccaro Album,' Master Drawings, vol. VIII, no. 2, 1970, p. 134, no. 31; sold, New York, Sotheby's, 11 January 1990, lot 23 (as Giovanni Antinor)

4. S. Prosperi Valenti Rodinò, loc. cit.