Daniele da Volterra

▪ Italian artist
original name  Daniele Ricciarelli  
born 1509, Volterra [Italy]
died April 4, 1566, Rome

      Italian Mannerist painter and sculptor, noted for his finely drawn, highly idealized figures done in the style of Michelangelo.

      He studied with the Sienese painter Il Sodoma, and in about 1538 he moved to Rome, where he became a pupil and a close friend of Michelangelo. The latter's influence is already apparent in the exaggerated musculature and strong linear rhythms of the figures in Volterra's fresco frieze (1541) in the Massimi Palace depicting the story of Fabius Maximus. In that same year he painted his most famous work, the “Descent from the Cross” in the Church of Trinità de' Monti, Rome. The dynamically posed, monumental figures in this powerful and agitated composition make it one of the most important works done by the younger generation of Mannerist painters in Rome. Daniele's other major paintings include “Massacre of the Innocents” (Uffizi, Florence) and “David Killing Goliath” (Louvre, Paris).

      In 1559 Pope Paul IV assigned Daniele the task of painting in draperies to cover the nudity of many of the figures in Michelangelo's “Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel. For his performance of this task Daniele earned the nickname Il Braghettone (or Brachettone) (“The Breeches Maker”), as well as an undeserved posthumous reputation as a prude. Daniele's last work was a bronze portrait bust of Michelangelo based on the latter's death mask. The bust is the finest surviving representation of that great artist.

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Universalium. 2010.

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