Volterra, Daniele Di

, whose family name was Ricciarelli, but who is better known by the name of his birth-place, Volterra, where he was born in 1509, was the reputed pupil of Peruzzi and Razzi at Siena, and the assistant of Perino del Vaga at Rome. He acquired the best part of his celebrity from a decided adherence to the principles, style, and subsequent patronage and assistance, of Michael Angelo, who accelerated his progress, enriched him with designs, and made him his substitute in the works of the Vatican. For proofs of actual assistance we need not recur to his frequent attendance on Daniele whilst he painted in the Farnesina, and the tale of the colossal head | which he is said to have drawn with a coal on the wall during his absence, and which is still left to exhibit its questionable lines; the best evidence of that assistance was the fresco of the Trinita del Monte, now a ruin of the revolution: if that wonderful performance, the first of the three that were considered as the master- pieces of the art in Rome, evinced in composition and style the supenntendance, advice, and corrections, of Michael Angelo, its principal parts could only be considered as the work of his own hand; that master-hand alone could embody the weight of death in the sinking figure of the Saviour, and point the darts of woe that pierced the mother’s breast in the face and dereliction of the Madonna, without destroying the superhuman beauty of either. The remainder emulates, but arrives not at the same degree of perfection. The male assistants have more labour than energy, and, though with propriety subordinate, proportions scarcely equal to the task. In the female group, so beautifully contrasted, gesture seems to prevail over sentiment; even the figure of St. John, with all its characteristic excellence, by the fear it expresses, rather interrupts than assists the sublime pathos and sacred silence of the scene.

Under this picture, which with the completion of some inferior ones in the same chapel had cost him seven years, Daniele placed two basso-relievos, to express nis gratitude to Michael Angelo and his contempt of public cavil. One represented Michael Angelo contemplating himself in a mirror, to indicate that the picture was a reflection of his powers; the other shewed a group of satyrs weighing the detached figures of the picture in a balance, and chasing away an inimical group of other satyrs; with the addition of some Greek words, implying that those wiio had laughed at the slowness of his progress, were now become a laughingstock themselves.

Under the pontificates of Paolo and Pio IV. Daniele was employed to cover the nudities of some of the figures in the last judgment of Michael Angelo, and, according to a tradition sufficiently authentic, with the master’s own consent. An invidious task, more of necessity than choice, and perhaps merely complied with to save the work from a more sacrilegious hand, but for which he was ever afterwards branded by the ludicrous appellation of Braghettuue. Volterra died in Rome in 1566, at the age of fifty -seven. 1

1 Pilkington by Fuseli.