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Raffaellino da Reggio (Biographical details)

Raffaellino da Reggio (painter/draughtsman; Italian; Male; 1530 - 1578)

Also known as

Raffaellino da Reggio; Motta, Raffaello; Reggio, Raffaellino da

Biography

Painter. Raffaello Motta, known as Raffaellino da Reggio, b. Codemondo near Reggio Emilia, 1550, d. Rome May 1578 (Fantini, pp. 21, 28). Fantini says R.'s first master was the medallist Alfonso Ruspagiari; that he then went to Novellara as a pupil of Lelio Orsi, whom he assisted in painting house façades when aged about 16; and that he was then employed by Cesare Gonzaga in Guastalla, where he met the architect Francesco da Volterra, later husband of the engraver Diana Scultori. This does not conflict with Baglione's statement that R. came to Rome in the pontificate of Gregory XIII (1572-85). On the other hand, he may have been in Rome as early as 1565-6 if Fantini is right in saying that he decorated the chapel "in capo della scala del Palazzo Montegiordano" for Cardinal Ippolito d'Este: Pacifici, though quoting no document, names R. among the '"aiuti del Muziano" who decorated a chapel in this palace, and Ugo da Como (pp. 176f.) cites payments to Muziano dated 1565-6 for work both in the "capella grande" and the "capellina". Furthermore, van Mander, who was in Rome during R.'s lifetime, implies that he was still only a boy when he came to Rome, and that after working with "certain painters" he attached himself to F. Zuccaro (q.v.) and later to Lorenzo Sabbatini (R.'s association with Federico, also referred to by Baglione, is evident from his style, though he is more readily confusable with Taddeo).
Façades recorded: Reggio Emilia, figure of 'Peace' with a Hunting Scene above (Fantini); Rome: Montecitorio, 'Icarus and Daedalus' (in colour) and another façade near by with 'The Cup found in Benjamin's Sack' (Baglione; Fantini); behind S. Marcello al Corso, façades with 'Polyphemus' and 'Mercury', both in colour (Baglione; Celio); Campo Marzio, house of Francesco da Volterra, probably 1573-4 (see Ff,2.104); Via del Pellegrino opposite the Vicolo Savelli, a façade with "alcuni Puttini intorno, ha un festone assai bello, e vi sono altre figure, e un fregio di chiaro oscuro" (Baglione; Celio (p. 148) and Fantini presumably refer to the same). Façade of present no. 66 Via Pellegrini, restored in 1930s, is claimed to be this ('Facciate', p. 60; pl. xxv; Maccari, pl. 33) but does not agree with Baglione's description.
Churches: SS. Quattro Coronati, chancel of separate chapel of S. Silvestro: on pilasters 'S. Silvestro and Constantine'; on side walls, 'SS. Coronati beaten in front of Statue of Aesculapius' and 'Martyrdom of SS. Coronati before statue of Apollo' (Faldi, 'Bollettino', xxxvi (1951), pp. 324ff, figs. 7-10), probably c. 1570, the year in which the patronage was transferred to the guild of stonemasons, of which the SS. Coronati were patrons (Forcella, viii, p. 291, no. 721). Oratorio del Gonfalone, 'Christ before Pilate' "in concorrenza di Federico Zucchero" (Baglione); drawing Uffizi 11257F (see Röttgen, 'Burlington', figs. 36-7), probably c. 1573, date inscribed on F. Zuccaro's adjacent 'Flagellation'. Probably 1572, assisted F. Zuccaro in the decoration of the cappella maggiore of S. Caterina dei Funari (see Ff,1.27) where he painted "sotto le storie grandi alcuni puttini, e figure" (Baglione). A drawing for the r.-hand 'basamento' (Gere, 'Rosenbach', pl. 8) includes pairs of 'putti' very like those painted and is undoubtedly by F. Zuccaro, from which it would seem that R. was acting in a subordinate capacity. SS. Apostoli, Baptismal Chapel, two 'puttini' (Baglione), destroyed. Fantini describes R.'s painting in this chapel as a 'Baptism of Christ' with a "coro di angeli", which he claims was engraved. SS. Giovanni and Paolo, above altar on r., fresco of Roman martyrs, 'Sts. John and Paul with Angels' (destroyed) commissioned by Nicolas de Pellevé, Archbishop of Sens, titular cardinal 1572-84 (Fantini), according to Baglione much admired and copied. A drawing possibly connected, in Louvre (Cabinet Rothschild 3292, as Salimbeni). S. M. in Trastevere, fresco altarpiece (destroyed) in "cappelletta del Presepio", (Baglione), according to Fantini an 'Adoration of the Shepherds'. S. Silvestro al Quirinale, chapel now 2nd on l., 'Massacre of Innocents', 'Joseph's Dream' and roundel of 'Holy Ghost with Angels' on vault; 'David' and 'Isaiah' on arch soffit. Baglione also lists 'Annunciation' above arch, destroyed in 1641 restoration. Chapel decoration presumably completed shortly before 7 Apr. 1576, date of privilege to celebrate mass (inscription r. pilaster). A drawing corresponding with 'Joseph's Dream' was in the Mond Collection (Wittkower-Borenius cat., pl. xlix, as F. Zuccaro): to judge from the illustration, this could be a 'fair copy' by R. himself, made perhaps with a chiaroscuro woodcut in mind.
Vatican: 2nd-floor Loggia of Gregory XIII, decorated Oct. 1575 to Sept. 1577 (see Vaes, 'Bulletin de l'Institut Historique Belge de Rome' (1928), p. 306). According to Baglione, R. painted 'Entry into Jerusalem', in 10th arcade, and in 11th, 'Christ washing Disciples' Feet' (Hess, 'Studien', ii, p. 69, fig. 8; squared drawing Lille, Pluchart 583, as T. Zuccaro; study for r. foreground disciple, Uffizi 2021F) and 'Christ in the House of Simon' (Hess, ibid., fig. 7; old copy, Haarlem D43). 'Christ in House of Zacchaeus', 10th arcade, may also be by him, as Antal (orally) suggested.
Sala Ducale: Baglione attributes to R. the arms of Gregory XIII (now overpainted with those of Alexander VII and obscured by plaster drapery) and 'putti' in lunette above central archway; 'Hercules and Cacus' and "alcune figurine" between the Grotesques on the vault; and two figures in frieze "near door" (see also Celio. Part of vault and frieze repr. Cecchelli, p. 368). According to Taja (p. 78) R. took over in Sala Ducale after Sabbatini's death (2 Aug. 1576). Sala Regia (final phase, Nov. 1572-May 1573, see Campos, pp. 179f): Baglione, Fantini and Celio all attribute to R. the angel holding the tiara on the end wall opposite the Cappella Paolina, and to Sabbatini the corresponding figure with the keys. Sabbatini's responsibility for the design of both figures is established by Edinburgh D904 (Andrews, fig. 757).
Sala del Concistoro Segreto or Seconda Sala dei Paramenti, completed 1577 (see Campos, pp. 182f): 'Ordination of Levites by Moses' and 'Ordination of Deacons by St Peter' (repr. Cecchelli, p. 308). Fantini's attribution of both to R. confirmed by inscription on A. Caprioli's engraving of former and Uffizi study 11220F for latter (see Gere, 'Uffizi Exh.' 1966, no. 79, fig. 54). Chattard (ii, p. 186) states that R. worked in the 'cappella comune'. Collobi (pp. 281f.) suggests that this may be the Cappella delle Guardie Nobili (on the 2nd floor at SE end of Cortile del Belvedere), in the semi-dome of which is a composition of 'God the Father and the Holy Ghost with Cherubim and Angels'. She publishes a drawing in Stockholm, traditionally attributed to R., of a lunette-shaped composition similar in general disposition but differing in every detail (in fact an old copy after Gere, 'Rosenbach', pl. 21). Other works in the Vatican cited by Fantini (pp. 26f.) include "nel Salotto avanti alle Loggie nel volto molte invenzioni d'istorie, e nel fregio parte delle nove Muse" and figures of Philosophers in the Sala di Bologna (these last look to us more like Sabbatini). Van Mander says that R. worked in the Vatican with Paris Nogari and 'Gioan del Borgo' (presumably Alberti) and attributes to him 'Arms of Gregory XIII between Justice and Prudence' at the head of a staircase.
Old St Peter's: 'Sts. Peter and John healing the Cripple' and 'Andrew bringing Peter to Christ with Baptist preaching in background' above exterior doors (see Van Mander-Vaes, p. 343). According to Van Mander, the former was based on Raphael's tapestry; what is presumably an old copy of the latter in Louvre 11362 (anon.), also study for principal group (6674 as R.). Payments 24 July 1574-8 Jan. 1575 (Van Mander-Vaes, p. 353, n. 13).
Caprarola: According to Baglione, R., called in by Giovanni de' Vecchi (q.v.) to help with the decoration, painted "alcuni Satiri in certi canti di una sala intorno ad alcune cartelle". These are in Sala del Mappamondo, in which the date 1574 is inscribed. 'Putti' with swags seem also to be his. Panel paintings: The only certain extant panel painting is 'Tobias and the Angel' in the Borghese Gallery, probably identifiable with the picture of this subject said by Fantini to have been painted for Contessa Sanfiore (Santafiore). According to P. della Pergola (Cat. (1955), i, no. 109), Cardinal Scipione Borghese acquired some of his collection from this source. A variant known from an engraving by Agostino Carracci, dated 1581 (B. xviii, p. 36, 3) and an anonymous chiaroscuro woodcut (B. xii, p. 27, 9). Composition studies, Uffizi 2014F (Faldi, fig. 15), and formerly Coll. Earl of Wicklow. Study for Tobias only, Uffizi 2019F. Another study probably for a Tobias at Rennes (46/4: Gere, 'Manierismo', pl. xxii; Gernsheim 549). Fantini also lists: 'Infant Hercules with his brother Iphiclus' for Contessa Sanfiore; 'Giving of Keys' for Cesena; 'Virgin and Child with St Bartholomew and St Clare' for Bishop Ruffini in the Abruzzi (Fantini, p. 24). A composition of this subject by R., engraved by Diana Scultori with the date 1585 and a dedication to Cardinal Antonio Santorio, titular of S. Bartolommeo in Isola; fragment of study for upper part of composition, property of Lady Lever Gallery, deposited at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (3277a, now 3050).
Compositions known through prints include: engravings by Diana Scultori: 'Holy Family with Infant Baptist', dated 1575 (B. xv, p. 440, 18); 'Two nude Infants', 1577 (B. xv, p. 450, 41); 'Christ Ascending', foreshortened in circle, 1581 (B. xv, p. 437, 11); 'Ecce Homo', 1586 (B. xv, p. 435, 6). Engravings by the master MGF (M. Greuter?) cited by Nagler ('Monogrammisten', iv, p. 584): 'Joseph and Potiphar's Wife', 'Virgin with Dead Christ' and 'Mars and Venus' (Thieme-Becker, xv, p. 8, cites what is presumably a later state, dated 1638; a study, in reverse, in Morassi Col. Milan). Facsimiles of drawings: 'St Jerome with Angel' (Metz: Weigel 6319/20) and 'Apelles painting Campaspe' (Prestel: Weigel 6322). Chiaroscuro woodcuts. 'Entombment' by Andreani, 1585 (B. xii, p. 44, 24; drawings: Chatsworth 737 recto; Louvre 6675; Uffizi 914s, Gere, 'Uffizi Exh.', 1966, no. 80, fig. 55); 'Adoration of Kings', anonymous (B. xii, p. 31, 5; drawing N.Y. Met. Mus. 65.208).
Drawings: 'Ecce Homo', verso of 'Entombment' Chatsworth 737, see above; 'Christ and the Three Marys, Uffizi 14352F (Angulo-Pérez Sanchez, 'A Corpus of Spanish Drawings 1400-1600', 1975, i, no. 246, pl. lxvii, as Tibaldi) appears to be a copy of a composition by R.; 'Holy Ghost surrounded by Angels', Philadelphia, Rosenbach Foundation, (Gere, 'Rosenbach', pl. 15a, wrongly as F. Zuccaro); 'Martyrdom of St Dorothy', Louvre 10296 (Gere, 'Manierismo', pl. xxiii); 'Design for Chapel with altarpiece of Adoration of Magi', Edinburgh D 1475 (Andrews, fig. 704; Gere, 'Manierismo', fig. 16); 'Young Man about to sacrifice to Flora (?)', Oslo 15381; 'Bearded Man holding Viol, with Young Woman', Berlin 18489, Gernsheim 52640.

Bibliography

Gere & Pouncey 1983 (whence the following)
Bonifazio Fantini, 'Breve trattato della vita di Raffaele Mota, Reggiano pittore famoso,' Reggio, 1616 and 1657; another ed. (Giuseppe Adorni) Parma, 1850; Thieme-Becker (1931) with previous bibliography; L. Collobi, 'Raffaellino Motta detto Raffaellino da Reggio', Rivista del R. Istituto d'Archeologia e Storia dell'Arte, vi (1937), pp. 266ff.; I. Faldì, 'Contributi a Raffaellino da Reggio', Bollettino, xxxvi (1951), pp. 324ff.; Gere, Uffizi Exh., 1966; H. Röttgen, 'Notes on the "Oratorio del Gonfalone" in Rome', Burlington, cx (1968), pp. 141ff.