CHERUBINO ALBERTI KNOWN AS BORGHEGGIANO, attribuited to
Borgo Sansepolcro, 1553 – Roma, 1615
The Conversion of Saint Paul
olio on panel, cm 108×82
Numbered in ink on the back with no. 164SO and with a handwritten inscription “Tadeo Zucaro. Stampa da Carlum Lusi Roma”
The painting is derived from the impressive Conversion of Saint Paul painted by Taddeo Zuccari in around 1564, as an altarpiece for the Frangipani Chapel in San Marcello al Corso, Rome. The painting is more glazed and sharper than the large prototype, and the fact that it reproduces the composition as a mirror image can be attributed to the use of an engraving.
Indeed, in 1592 Cherubino Alberti, an artist from Sansepolcro and part of a very prominent family of painters, engravers and sculptors in Rome and the Upper Tiber Valley, made a print from Zuccari’s altarpiece using the press of Giovan Battista Rossi. This is why our panel bears this traditional attribution, which was already assigned to it as it moved from one collection to the next. There is a reason for this indication if we compare the painting with Cherubino’s work from the end of the century.
The Zuccari altarpiece, painted in oil on slate slabs, also has another copy on copper, which is much smaller than ours and is housed in the Galleria Doria Pamphili Rome, testifying to the composition’s renown. The figure of the soldier, who is shown running away in the foreground on the left covering his face with his arm, was also used by Federico Zuccari, Taddeo’s brother, in the frescoes with the stories of Moses in the Belvedere apartment in the Vatican. In this case too, the composition mirrored that of San Marcello al Corso, suggesting that Federico also probably used Cherubino’s engraving.