This is rare modello
by Ciocchi relates to the decoration of one of the very damaged lunettes of the Augustinian cloister, frescoed by the artist in the Convent of San Lorenzo in Pistoia.1
The original inscription on the drawing, bearing the date of 1610, around the shaped lunette, bears witness to the commission to 'Ulisse da Ciocchi da Monte San Savino'
for the entire cycle of the cloister, representing scenes from the life of St. Augustine. The city guide by Francesco Tolomei Guida di Pistoia per gli amanti delle Belle Arti …
(Pistoia 1821), records that the frescoes were indeed painted by a pupil of Poccetti, Ulisse Ciocchi, but Tolomei mentions that the cloister was completed slightly later, in 1617.
As recorded in the original inscription, the work was executed by the artist under the priorate of Fra Bartolomeo Ricciolini, who is portrayed here standing to the right foreground of the composition, looking towards the viewer. On the other side the three knights of Santo Stefano are possibly members of an important family of Pistoia, who probably financed the cycle.2
In the centre of the composition, seated in the background is Pope Innocent the IV (Sinibaldo Fieschi 1243-1254), receiving the rule of the Order.3
This sheet is most probably a presentation drawing executed for Bartolomeo Ricciolini.
As is recorded in an inventory of the Convent, written by Rondani in 1865 (Florence, Ufficio Catalogo, Soprintendenza ai Beni Artistici e Storici), the frescoes were already in poor state of preservation in the mid-19th Century. This modello executed on oil on paper, seems to be the only visual record known for this commission, now almost entirely lost.
Ciocchi was trained in the bottega of Poccetti before establishing himself as an independent artist in Florence in 1605. He did however continue to collaborate with Poccetti until the artist's death in 1612.4
1. Image in the Gabinetto della Sovrintendenza B. A. A. Florence no. 40919
2. See M. P. Mannini, in exhib. cat. Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, loc cit.
3. See E. Pagliano, in exhib. cat., Rennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, loc. cit.
4. For more information on the artist's life and career see M.P. Mannini, in exhib. cat. Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, op. cit., Biografie, p. 58