Contents

D.31-34 Preface to Lagrime Project, Arezzo

Drawings Related to the Unexecuted Frescoes for S. Maria delle Lagrime (SS. Annunziata), Arezzo.

1528-1529 and 1529

The document that records the commission of the series of frescoes that Rosso was to execute for the church of S. Maria delle Lagrime (SS. Annunziata) in Arezzo on 24 November 1528, preserved in the State Archives, Florence, Notarile antecosimiano G 48 (ser Lorenzo Galli, 1527-1529), fol. 398r-399r gives:

(in the margin) “locatio volte Anumptiate”

“Eisdem anno, indictione et pontificatu, die vero XXIIII mensis novembris [1528].  Actum Arretii, in contrata Isachini et Bongianni et in domo mei notrarii infrascripti, presentibus ibi Nicholao Rafaelis Francicsi de Terranova, cauponis [sic] et habitatore Arretii, Francisco Andree Mariotti de Castranovo et Benedicto Bernardini Benedicti de Spadaris de Arretio, testibus etc.

“Pateat omnibus evidenter qualiter Cosimus Ser Michelangeli de Lippis de Arretio, prior ad presens societatis disciplinatorum Sancte Marie Annumptiate de Arretio, Franciscus Antonii Pauli Freschi de Arretio, vicarius ad presens dicte societatis, Bernardinus Benedicti de Spadaris, Ser Contes Johannis de Marsuppinis notarius, Carolus Gregorii de Berghignis, Jeronimus Jacobi de Albergottis, Jeronimus Antonii de Bonuccis, omnes cives arretini et operarii dicte Societatis, per se igitur dictis nominibus et eorum in offitio successores, et omni alio meliori modo, locaverunt ad pingendum spectabili viro Magistro Rubeo Jacobi Gasparis, pictori et civi florentino, presenti et conducenti pro se tantum, voltam existentem in ecclesia Sancte Marie Lacrimarum de Arretio super altare prefate Marie Virginis gloriose, cum tribus faciebus seu fianchis subtus dictam voltam, in quibus faciebus sunt tres fenestre lapidee seu, ut vulgo dicitur, tre mezi tondi con tre finestre in dicti mezi tondi, cum imaginibus Beate Marie semper Virginis et eius istoriis, et eo modo et forma et prout et sicut dicto Magistro Rubeo videbitur et placebit, et com coloribus recipientibus, omnibus sumptibus et expensis dicti Magistri Rubei.  Et pro salario et mercede dicte picture ducatorum trecentorum auri ad libras VII pro quolibet ducato de monetis currentibus, et cum infrascriptis pactis, condictionibus et terminis, videlicet.  Quod dictus [398v] Magister Rubeus teneatur et obligatus sit et sic promisit dictis locatoribus ut supra stipulantibus, perficere et finitam et perfectam dare dictam picturam dicte volte et fiancorum eius infra tempus et terminum duorum annorum proxime futurorum, omnibus suis sumptibus et expensis ut supra, et casu quo etiam per duos menses vel circa post dictor duos annos dicta pictura tunc non esset finita et perfecta, quod non imputetur sibi Magistro Rubeo in calumpniam neque ad iniuriam dictorum locatorum.  Et cum hoc etiam pacto, quod dicto Magistro Rubeo liceat infra dictum terminum accipere alias operas ad pingendum in civitate Arretii et alibi, sed non illas pingere nisi prius finita dicta pictura dicte volte et faciarum sive fiancorum existentium ut supra in dicta ecclesia Sancte Marie Lacrimarum, preter unam tabulam quam ad presens pingit in Civitate Castelli, quam perficere possit infra dictum tempus duorum annorum et duorum mensium suprascriptorum.  Et dicti prior et vicarius at operarii, per se at ecrum in officio successores teneantur et obligati sint, et sic promiserunt, dare et solvere dictor Magistro Rubeo dictos ducator trecentos auri largos ad dictam rationem, hoc modo videlicet: ducator quinquaginta ad presens, et alios ducatos quinquaginta pro quolibet quatrimestri.  Et insuper voluerunt dicta partes quod dictis priori, vicario et operariis seu eorum successoribus liceat retinere in manibus ultimos quinquaginto ducatos dicte sue mercedis donec et quousque dicta opera dicta picture integraliter finita et perfecta fuerit infra dictum terminum duorum annorum et duorum mensium postea ad plus.  Cum pacto tamen quod casu quo dictus magister Rubeus isto iterim infra dictum ternimum decederet (quad Deus avertat) quod tunc temporis debeat extimari totum opus quod facxtum fuerit per dictum magistrum Rubreum tam in pictura quam in cartone seu designo dicte picture per duos amicos comunes et peritos in arte picture, et pro tanto quanto indicatum fuerit per eos dictum magistrum Rubeum lucrasse, tantum ipse et eius heredes habere et consequi [399r] possint a dictis locatoribus et eorum in officio successoribus.  Et si plus reciperet ab hominibus dicte societatis, in dicto casu mortis teneantur et obligati sint heredes dicti magistri Rubei ad restituendum et solvendum illud plus hominibus dicte societatis, et in casu predicto, precibus et mandatis dicti magistri Rubei, Iohannes Antonius Mattei ser Iacopi de Lappolis de Arretio extitit fideiussor penes dictos locatores ut supra stipulantes, eisdemque presentibus et stipulantibus ut supra promisit facere et curare ita et taliter cum effectu quod dictus magister Rubeus faciet et obervabit quantum supra per eum promissum est, alias reficere de suo proprio illud plus quod dictus magister Rubeus acciperet de eius mercede usque in summam ducatorum ducentorum quinquaginta, detracta mercede per eum lucrata secundum extimationem ut supra fiendam de eo quod ipse pingisset in dicta volta et faciebus seu, ut vulgo dicitur, tre mezi tondi di lune.  Que omnia et singula suprescripta dicti locatores dicti nominibus, ex una, et dictus magister Rubeus et Iohannes Antonius eius fideiussor, ex alia, promiserunt sibi invicem et vicissim antedicta observare etc. et contra non dare, facere etc., sub pena dupli totius eius quod veniret in litem, que pena etc., qua Pena etc.  Pro quibus etc. obligaverunt dicti locatores bona dicte Societatis tam presentia quam futura, et dicti condu[c]tor et fideiussor obligaverunt se et eorum heredes et bona omnia presentia et futura, renumptiaverunt etc.  Quibus [per] guarantigiam precepi etc. Rogantes me notarium infrascriptum etc.”1

An abbreviated record of this commission in Italian is preserved in the State Archives, Florence, Compagnie religiose soppresse. Diocesi di Arezzo, A CLXXXVIII, vol. 2202/2, Libro di Partiti e Ricordi, 1491-1584, fol. 65r:

“+ Yesus. Adì 24 nove[m]bre 1528.”

(in the margin) “Alogagione a maestro Rosso a dipignere la volta”

“Congregati adì detto di sopra il priore e operai, bene ch’assente messer Girolimo Berardi, in chasa di ser Lorenzo Galli nostro concielieri, cioè Cosimo di ser Michelagnolo Lippi e Francesco di Pavolo di Fresco vichario e ser Conte Marsupini e Bera[r]dino di Benedetto Spadari e Carlo di Grigoro Bergigni e Girolimo di Jacopo Albergotti e Girolimo d’Antonio Bunucci, operari dela nostra compagnia, alogoreno a dipigniere la volta con tre mezzi tondi di sopra ala Madonna, a maestro Rosso di Jacopo pitore fiorentino, per prezo di duchati treciento a lire sette per duchato, cioè duchati 300, e detto maestro Rosso abbi avere al presente duchati 50 e resto di quatro mesi in quatro mesi, e detto Maestro Roso abbi finito detta volta e fianchi in termine di due anni gominciando a dì detto, e al’ultimo di detti due anni, finita detta volta e finachi, resti avere di detta somma duchati cinquanta, cioè duchati 50, e finita e schoperta detta volta abbi avere detti duchati 50 di suo resto.  E in chaso che detto Maestro Rosso si morise fra detto tempo Giovan Antonio di Jacopo Lapoli pitore, citadino aretino, ène tenuto e obrigato a rifare li nostri denari che detto maestro Rosso avesse auto, faciendoli buono tuto quello che detto maestro Rosso averse fatto.  Item detto maestro Rosso non abbi a mettere mano in altra opera fino a tanto che detta volta e faccie non abbi finito.  E altri capitoli, come piue largamente si po vedere per mano di Ser Lorenzo Galli, nostro cancielieri, rogato detto di ________.”2

Payments to Rosso for this project, and other ledger entries of the confraternity at SS. Annunziata related to this project and also to a payment for garments and wax for Rosso’s initiation ceremony into this confraternity [on his election, see DOC.12a], 29 November 1529 to 1 December 1530, are found in the State Archives, Florence, Compagnie religiose soppresse. Diocesi di Arezzo, A CLXXXVIII, vol. 2207, Debitori e Creditori, segnato I, 1526-1530, fol. 162 both sides:

[left] “A dì 29 di Nove[m]bre 1528

“Maestro Rosso di Iacopo di Guaspari, fiorentino, pitore, de’dare a di sopra lire treciento cinquanta, ebbe per polizza di numero 152, da Niccola di Niccolò, nostro camarlingo, posto avere in questo, a c.160 — lire 350

“E de’dare a dì 25 Marzo 1529 lire tre, sono per la sua bene entrata di li nostri fratelli di la Compagnia, per la veste e per la ciera — lire 3

“E de’dare a dì 8 d’Aprile 1529 lire trecientoquaranta sette, ebbe per polizza di numero 334, da Niccola di Niccolò, nostro camarlingo, posto die avere in questo, c.195 — lire 347

“E da’dare a dì 26 Giugnio 1529, lire otto soldi cinque, sono per la valuta di staia tre di grano fornito, ebbe per lire due soldi quindici staio, da Girolimo di Iacopo Albergotti, nostro camarlingo, posto die avere in questo, a c.213 — lire 8 soldi 5

“E de’dare a dì 24 Luglio 1529 lire treciento quarantuno soldi quindici, ebbe per poliza di numero 29 da Girolimo di Iacopo Albergotti, nostro camarlingo, posto die avere a suo conto in questo, c.221 — lire 341 soldi 15

“1050.00

[right] “Maestro Rosso di Iacopo di rinconto di’avere lire 1050 soldi -, che di tanti lo portò debitore M, c.87 – 1050”

(fol. 305 right)

“Messer Iacopo di Rosso nostro avocato die avere a dì primo di Diciembre 1530 lire due soldi due, sono per avere risposto per la casa portò contanti di Giovanni Antonio Lapoli malevadore di maestro Rosso pitore di duchati 150, come apare debitore maestro Rosso in quest c.161 — lire 2 soldi 23

A document of 14 June 1530 (State Archives, Florence, Compagnie religiose sopuresse, Diocesi di Arezzo, A CLXXXVIII, vol. 2203/1 Di Ofitii e Partiti, Segnato B, 1517-1550, fols. 115v-116r) records the confraternity’s election of members to deal with the case of Rosso’s abandonment of the project leaving Giovanni Antonio Lappoli responsible for the return of 150 ducats paid to Rosso.4

Another document, of 11 April 1531, that concerns the collection of Lappoli’s debt to the confraternity as the guarantor of Rosso’s contract, is found in the State Archives, Florence, Compagnie religiose soppresse, Diocesi di Arezzo, A CLXXXVIII (dal no. 4 al no. 6), no. 4, fols. 117v-118r:

“Auctoritas exigendi V 150 a Ioanne
Antonio de Lappolis fideiussore
magistri Rubeus pictoris

“In Dei u?ruiue amen.  Anna Domini nostri Yesu Christi ab eius saluti fera incarnations millesimo quingentesimo trigesimo primo, indictione quarta, tempore pontificatus Sanctissimi in Christo patris et domini, domini Clementis diving providentia pape VII anno octavo, Carolo Quinto Romanorum imperator regnante, die vero XI mensis aprilis.

“Congregatis et convocatis collegialiter priore, Operariis, vicario et aliis hominibus Societatis disciplinatorum Sancte Marie Annumptiate civitatis Arretii in sufficienti numero, in novo oratorio dicte Societatis ubi alias congregari et coadunari [118r] solent homines dicte societatis pro negociis eiusdem utiliter pergendij, citatis tamen heri pro hac die et hora per Niccolaum Iohannis de Gavardellis, ad presens numptium dicte societatis, de mandato tamen et ad requisitionem supradicti Baptiste de Spadariis, moderni prioris dicte societatis, servatis que servandi, per eorum legitimum partitum inter eos obtentum per totas fabas nigras, dederunt atque concesserunt plenum et omnimodam au[c]toritatem et tantum quantum habet totum corpus dicte societatis, priori et Operariis presentibus seu presenti officio et futuro dumtaxat, exigendi a Iohanne Antonio de Lappolis, pictori et civi arretino, florenos centum quinquaginta auri in auro ad rationem librarum 7[?] pro quolibet floreno, de quibus est debitor vigore fideiussionis per eum facie ergs et penes dictaru societatem de magistro Rubes pictore, et agitandi contra eundem Iohannem Antonium eo modo et forma et prout et sicut dictis priori et Operariis proximis et futuris dummodo deveniant ad aliquam compositionem casu quo ita de facili ab eo dictos florenos 150 exigere non possent, et componenti ut aupra infra quod tempus sit soluturus et solvere debeat eosdem omni meliori modeo etc.”

Documents of 25 March 1531 and of 11 April 1531, again concerning the selection of a procurator and two lawyers to deal with the matter, are found in the State Archives, Florence, Compagnie religiose soppresse, Diocesi di Arezzo, A CLXXXVIII, vol. 2202/2, Libro di Partiti e Ricordi, 1491-1584, fol. 72v, 73v:

“25 Marzo 1531/Convocati, il priore e operai e altri fratelli in sufficienti numero otenuto il partito a tute fave nere derono auturità al’ufisio che è al present e quello che verà di potere rescotere squdi 150 da Giovanni Antonio Lapoli pitore, come malevadore di maestro Rosso di Iacopo, di compore con detto Giovanni Antonio infra quanto tempo lui ci abi a pagare detti scudi 150 o altramente fare.

“[73v] 11 d’Aprile 1531/Congregati il priore e operai in suficiente numero otenuto it partito elosino per loro proquratore ser Niccolo di ser Vinccenso [sic] Guadagnioli e per avocati messer Francesco Bisdomini e Messer Bartolomeo Berardi contra a Giovanni Antonio Lapoli per conto di la promisione c[h]e lui fecie per maestro Rosso dipentore.5

The inventory made on 12 March 1532 (DOC.13) of the possessions that Rosso left behind in two strongboxes at S. Maria delle Lagrime when he fled from Arezzo, probably in September 1529, lists, among other items, two that were very probably related to this project:

“Undici pezzi de cartoni in quattro guluppi,” (see L.26) and

“doi desegnetti in carta in uno guluppo, per la Cappella magiore” (see L.24).

As discussed below, one other entry in this inventory could possibly also be related to this project:

“Doi Sibille in carta verde” (see L.29).

A letter written in Rome on 20 May 1535 and sent from the bishop and aldermen of Arezzo to Paul III that requests the pope to forbid Rosso, as living in Avignon, to exercise his art and to force him to pay his Aretine debts is preserved in the Archivio dell Curia Vescovile of Arezzo, Benefiziale (dal 1535 at 1543), fol. 11r-v:

“Paulus PP. III.  Dilecti filii salutem et apostolicam benedictionem.  Mittimus vobis supplicationem presentibus introclusum manu venerabilis fratis Thome episcopi Feltrensis, in presentia nostra signatam, volumusque et vobis commictimus et mandamus ut vos vel alter vestrum vocatis vocandis ad illius exequutionem procedatis juxta eius continentiam et signaturam.  Datum Romae, apud sanctum Petrum sub annulo piscatoris die XX maii MDXXXV, pontificatus nostri anno primo.  Intus.  Hieronimus Venturus. Extra:

“Dilectis filiis primicerio Cathedralis et archipresbitero plebus arretine ecclesie vel eorum alteri.

“Beatissime Pater.  Alias de anno 1528 prior vicarius operarij et alii officiales societatis disciplinatorum sancte Marie [11v] Annuntiate de Aretio locarunt ad pingendum cuidam magistro Rubeo magistri Gasparis pictoris clerico florentino voltam existentem super altare Marie Virginis in ecclesia sancte Marie lacrimarum dicte civitatis pro ducatis tercentis auri largis, perficiendam infra cerium terminum iam diu elapsum, et de dicta mercede tunc actualiter in contantis certam summam recepit et pro eo devotus Sanctitatis vestre orator Iohannes antonius de Lappolis tantum de verbo fidejussit et quia dictus magister Rubeus inde ad certos dies dicto opere mon aliter inchoato recessit et Parisium se contulit nec aliter curat ad faciendum dictum opus reverti nec minus pecunias per sum receptas restituere curat, in non modicum salutis anime sue gravamen et dicte societatis prefatique oratoris, qui a dictis officialibus quotidie molestatur, dammum et preiudicium.  Ideo ne dictus orator bona fide ductus ex dicta sua fidejussione maius incommodum patiatur, placeat Sanctitati Vestre alinquibus viris in partibus illis commorantibus commictere et mandare quatenus causam et causas quam et quas dictus orator habet et monet, habereque et movere intendit et vult contra et adversum dictum magistrum Rubeum amnesque alios sua communiter interesse putantes de et super observatione dictae locationis ac relevatione sue indemnitatis damnis expensis et interesse per ipsum propterea passis et patiendis rebusque aliis in actu causae et causarum latius deducendis et illarum occasione et pro ut in beneficialibus, audiant cognoscant terminent et dicidant, partibus iustitiam ministrent cum potestate, tam dictum Rubeum quam alios sua, ut prefertur, interesse putantes in civitate Avinionis in qua dictus adversarius moram tenere dicitur, citandum eisdemque ac quibus et quotiens opus fuerit inibendum et alia faciendum exercendum et exequendum que in premissis et circa ea necessaria fuerint seu quomodo libet opportuna.  Constitutionibus et ordinationibus apostolicis ceterisque in contrarium facientibus non obstantibus quibuscumque.

“Concessum ut petitur in presentia domini nostri Pape.  Thomas Feltrensis.

“Datum Romae apud Sanctum Petrum quarto nonas maij anno primo.”6

That the case was still open sixteen years after Rosso left Arezzo and almost five years after his death is indicated by a document of 24 May 1545 located in the State Archives, Florence, Compagnie religiose soppresse, Diocesi di Arezzo, A CLXXXVIII, vol. 2202/2, Libro di Partiti e Ricordi, 1491-1584, fol. 155r:

“A dì 24 di Maggio 1545 / Otenuto el partito di chiamare 4 homeni che abbino a ffare vedere el contratto fra Giovanni Antonio Lappoli et la compagnia circa la pittura di la volta alogata a maestro Rosso, et trovando non a ffare debitore, abbino autorità di cancellarlo inseime col’ofitio del desco se si non trovando debitore, lo debbino referire al’ufitio del desco.  Gli omeni chiamati sono questi: messer Paolo Bonucci / messer Bartolomeo Berardi / Nicola Spadari / ser Niccolo Guadagnoli / Otenuto el partito per 35 fave nere e una biancha, rafermorono ser Angelo d’Ansano nostro sagrestano.”7

Vasari stated, in his “Life” of Lappoli (Vasari-Milanesi,VI, 12), of Lappoli’s plight that “se gli amici, e particolarmente Giorgio Vasari, che stimò trecento scudi quello che avea lasciato finito il Rosso, non lo avessero aiutato, sarebbe Giovann’Antonio poco meno che rovinato, per fare onore ed utile alla patria.”  There is no record to confirm this estimation of Rosso’s work and the settlement of Lappoli’s debt.  In 1583 Rosso’s account was still open.8

The S. Maria delle Lagrime project is described by Vasari, 1550, 801-803 (Vasari-Ricci, IV, 248-250), in the “Life” of Rosso immediately after the account of Rosso’s stay in Pieve S. Stefano: “trasferì… ultimamente in Arezzo: dove fu tenuto in casa di Benedetto Spadari.  Stando egli a’suoi servigi operò il mezo di Gio.  Antonio, e [sic] Lappoli Aretino, e di quanti amici e parenti essi avevanano; accioche egli facesse alla Madonna delle Lagrime una volta allogata già a Niccolo Soggi pittore.  Et perche tal memoria si lasciasse in quella città, gliele allogarono per prezzo di tre cento scudi d’oro.  Onde il Rosso cominciò cartoni in una stanza, che gli avevano consegnata in un luogo detto Murello; e quivi ne finì quattro.  In uno fece i primi parenti, legati allo albero del peccato; e la Nostra donna, che cava loro il peccato di bocca, figurato per quel pomo, e sotto i piedi il serpente, e nella aria, volendo figurare ch’era vestita del Sole e de la Luna, fete Febo et Diana ignudi.  Nell’altra fece quando l’arca federis è portata da Mose, figurata per la Nostra donna, che le virtù la cingono.  In un’altra il trono di Salomone, a cui i voti si porgono, somigliata pur per lei, signifcando quei che ricorrono a lei per ritrarne aiuto e grazia: con altre bizarrissime fantasie, che dal pellegrino, e bello ingegno di M. Giovan Pollastra canonico Aretino, e amico del Rosso furono trovate.  Laquale opera egli cosi ordinando, non restava pero per sua cortesia di far del continuo disegni a tutti coloro, che di Arezzo e di fuori, o per pitture o per fabbriche n’avevano bisogno. Entrò mallevadore di questa opera Gio.  Antonio Lappoli Aretino, e amico suo fidatissimo, che con ogni modo di servitù gli usò termini di amorevolezza.  Avvenne l’anno MDXXX. essendo l’assedio intorno a Fiorenza, e essendo gli Aretini per la poca prudenza di Papo de gli Altoviti rimasi in libertà, essi combatterono la cittadella, e la mandarono a terra.  Et perche que’ popoli mal volentieri vedevano i Fiorentini, il Rosso non si volle fidar di essi, e se ne’ andò al Borgo San Sepolcro, lasciando i cartoni e i disegni del l’opera serrati in Cittadella: perche quelli che a Castello gli aveva allogato la tavola, volsero che la finisse: e per il male, che avea avuto a Castello, non volle ritornarvi, e cosi al Borgo finì la tavola loro.”  After an argument with a priest on Maundy Thursday, 14 April 1530, Rosso decided to flee from Borgo Sansepolcro.  Vasari continued: “Perlaqualcosa, finita la tavola di Castello, non curò piu del lavoro d’Arezzo, ne del danno, che’faceva a Gio.  Antonio, avendo egli avuto piu di cento cinquanta ducati: ma si parti di notte, e facendo la via di Pesaro, arrivò a Vinegia,…”  A few months later Rosso left for France.  The account of this project in the “Life” of Rosso in Vasari, 1568, II, 208-209 (Vasari-Milanesi, V, 164-167) is fundamentally the same except for one slight change in the description of the composition of one of the cartoons and the addition of a passage.  The second cartoon is described as showing “quando l’Arca federes è portata da Mosè, figurata per la nostra Donna, da cinque virtu circondata.”  The added passage appears after the mention of Pollastra: “A compiacenza del quale fece il Rosso un bellissimo modello di tutta l’opera, che è hoggi nelle nostre case d’Arezzo.  Disegnò anco uno studio d’ignudi per quell’opera, che è cosa rarissima: onde fu un peccato, ch’ella non si finisse perche se egli l’havesse messa in opera, e fattala a olio, come haveva a farla in fresco, ella sarebbe stata veramente un miracolo.  Ma egli fu sempre nemico del lavorare in fresco, e però si andò temporeggiando in fare i cartoni, per farla finire a Raffaello dal borgo, e altri tanto ch’ella non si fece” (see L.23-L.26).

In the “Life” of Niccolò Soggi, Vasari, 1568, II, 390-391 (Vasari-Milanesi, VI, 23-25) wrote of this project: “M. Giuliano [Bacci] adunque, huomo ingegnoso, e che desiderava abellire la sua patria [Arezzo], e che in essa fussero persone, che attendessero alle virtu, operò di maniera con gl’huomini, che allora governavano la compagnia della Nuntiata [S. Maria delle Lagrime], iquali havevano fatto di quei giorni murare una volta grande nella lor chiesa, con intentione di farla dipignere, che fu allogato a Niccolo’un’Arco delle faccie di quella, con pensiero di fargli dipignere il rimanente, se quella prima parte, che haveva da fare allora piacesse a gl’huomini di detta compagnia.  Messosi dunque Niccolo intorno a quest opera con molto studio, in due anni fece la metà, e non piu di un archo, nelquale lavorò a fresco la Sibilla Tiburtina, che mostra a Ottaviano Imperadore la vergine in cielo col figliuol Giesu Christo in collo, e Ottaviano, che con reverenza l’adore.  Nella figura delquale Ottaviano ritrasse il detto M. Giuliano Bacci, e in un giovane grande che ha un panno rosso, Domenico suo creato, e in altre teste, altri amici suoi.  In somma si portò in quest’opera di maniera, che ella non dispiacque a gl’huomini di quella compagnia, ne a gl’altri di quella città.  Ben’è vero, che dava fastidio a ognuno il verderlo esser cosi lungo, e penar tanto a condurre le sue cose.  Ma con tutto cio gli sarebbe stato dato a finire il rimanente; se non l’havesse impedito la venuta in Arezzo del Rosso Fiorentino, pittor singolare: alquale, essendo messo inanzi da Giovan’Antonio Lappoli pittore Aretino, e da M. Giovanni Polastra, come si è detto in altro luogo, fu allogato con molto favore il rimanente di quell’opera.  Di che prese tanto sdegno Niccolo, che se non havesse tolto l’anno inanzi donna, e havutone un figliuolo, dove era accasato in Arezzo, si sarebbe subito partito.”  In the “Life” of Lappoli, Vasari, 1568, II, 384 (Vasari-Milanesi, VI, 11-12), immediately after speaking of the drawing of an Adoration of the Magi that Rosso gave to Lappoli for his altarpiece in San Francesco in Arezzo (L.21), wrote: “Non molto dopo, essendo entrato Giovan’Antonio mallevador’al Rosso per trecento scudi, per canto di pitture, che dovea il detto Rosso fare nella Madonna delle Lacrime, fu Giovan’Antonio molto travagliato: perche, essendosi partito il Rosso senza finir l’opera, come si è detto nella sua vita, e astretto Giovanni Antonio a restituire i danari: se gl’amici, e particolarmente Giorgio Vasari, che stimò trecento scudi quello che havea lasciato finito il Rosso, non l’havessero aiutato, sarebbe Giovan’Antonio poco meno, che rovinato, per fare honore, e utile alla patria.”

Bottari, in Vasari-Bottari, II, 1759, 298, n. 2, said that the cartoons remained in the rooms of the Compagnia della Madonna delle Lagrime, “ma parte sono pariti, e parte sono quasi svaniti.”  Milanesi, in Vasari-Milanesi, V, 164, n. 2, and 165, n. 1, gave the date of the commission to Rosso and stated that the now lost cartoons, after having been owned by the Compagnia della Nunziata [S. Maria delle Lagrime] for several years, were, in 1583, given by the Compagnia to don Giovanni de’Medici, the illegitimate son of Cosimo I (on the documents related to this gift and its return, see L.26).  Kallab, 1908, 31, 44-45, no. 13, 47, no. 19, gave Vasari’s history of the project but corrected the date of the assault on Arezzo as September 1529; he also stated that Vasari’s evaluation of Rosso’s cartoons must have taken place after 27 May 1530 when the citadel was surrendered.

Mancini, 1909, 69, n. 4, mentioned the Lagrime project and listed the archival references of the documents related to it.  Del Vita, 1913, 321 and n. 4, mentioned Rosso’s contract and repeated the archival references given by Mancini.  Ubaldo Pasqui, Di Bartolomeo dell Gatta Monaco Camaldolese miniatore pittore e architetto, Arezzo, 1926, 36, n. 3, mentioned Rosso’s contract, but partially transcribed instead the contract for the Cesi Chapel frescoes (see P.17).  Colnaghi, 1928, 237, gave a brief account of the history of the project.  Kusenberg, 1931, 34, 190, ns. 90, 93, 94, gave a brief account of the project but discussed only the Uffizi drawing of the Allegory of the Immaculate Conception.  Venturi, IX, 5, 1932, 196, referred to the contract for this project.  Barocchi, 1950, 70-72, mentioned the project and discussed the Uffizi and Bayonne drawings related to it.  Coradini, 1960, 125-126, 136-137, mentioned the project and published the document of 1535 transcribed above.  Carroll, 1961, 446, 450, 453, 454, discussed the project and the drawings related to it.  Hirst, 1964, 121, 125-126, published a copy of Rosso’s contract and mentioned the drawings for the project.  Carroll, 1964 (1976), I, Bk. I, 183-200, II, Bk. II, 291-308, D.28-D.30, Bk. III, Figs. 85-88, discussed the drawings.  Shearman, 1966, 171, n. 39, mentioned the project.  Carroll, 1966, 169.  Fagiolo dell’Arco, 1970, 65-66, 110, believed that Rosso’s compositions reflect his interest in alchemy and myths, although he referred specifically only to his Allegory of the Immaculate Conception.  Salmi, 1971, 123, 135, n. 24, mentioned the project and the Uffizi and Bayonne drawings.  Béguin, “Maître Roux,” 1972, 103, mentioned the project.  Boase, 1979, 13-14.  Giorgio Vasari, 1981, 22, 87, 103-104, under no 1, and no. 2 (Alessandro Cecchi), 106, under no. 3, 108, under no. 107 (Julian Klieman), 323, 326 (Maria Maetzke).  Darragon, 1983, 24, 25, 46, n. 2, 51, 52, 53-54, n. 8, 54-55, ns. 9-15, discussed the project and Pollastra, the inventor of the program.  Rosini, 1986, 71.  Carroll, 1987, 25, 26, Fig. 3 (Throne of Solomon).  Ciardi and Mugnaini, 1991, 10, 27, 128, commented on the project in relation to Rosso not wanting to paint in fresco.  Franklin, 1994, 229-252, gives a full account of the documentation related to Soggi’s and Rosso’s work on the frescoes for S. Maria delle Lagrime, and of the program of Rosso’s projected cycle.  Franklin, 1994, 229-252, discusses all the sources, documents, and visual evidence related to this project and reconstructs the arrangement of the surviving scenes in the atrium of the church [different from my reconstruction below].  Ciardi, 1994, 72, 85, 88, Fig., 97, n. 159, with themes, especially the Throne of Solomon, favored by Dominicans, but mostly in Northern Europe.

The history of Rosso’s work for S. Maria delle Lagrime needs to begin with the initial allocation of this project to Niccolo Soggi on 24 May 1527.9  The Compagnia della Nunziata commissioned him to paint for 150 ducats the vault of the chapel of S. Maria delle Lagrime – actually the center bay of the atrium, completed by 1523,10 of the church known by that name but also called SS. Annunziata – along with the walls flanking the vault.  These walls are the three lunettes immediately beneath the vault.  Each lunette has a window in the center – a Palladian window (a tripartite serliana) in the façade wall at the east, and a rectangular one with a pediment in the lunettes at the north and south.  Soggi was to paint “stories,” or figures the subjects of which would be determined by the Sindaci della Compagnia elected to oversee the work.  The artist was to paint one picture on one of the flanking walls by 15 July 1527 and was to continue this project only if his picture pleased the syndics who would, it seems, obtain the judgment of other artists.  Soggi executed a fresco of Augustus and the Tiburtine Sibyl (Fig.Soggi, Arezzo) at the right side of the south lunette (Fig.Arezzo, Annunziata),11 with payments going back to even before the date of his contract and continuing until 1530.12  On 22 March 1528 the syndics voted 33 to 4 against allowing Soggi to continue the project,13 a vote taken before his work was actually assessed and the final payment made.

It is not known on whose advice this decision was reached.  On 6 January 1531 Soggi received a final payment of 15 ducats (or scudos) for this work, the sum arbitrated by Guglielmo de Marcillat, whom Soggi had selected to settle the price.14  Rosso paid a short visit to Arezzo sometime after 1 March 1528 and before 20 April 152815 and it is possible that he was there on or slightly before 22 March when the syndics voted against Soggi’s continuance of the project.  Vasari’s account in his “Life” of Soggi of that artist’s activity at S. Maria delle Lagrime indicates that the project would not have been taken from him had Rosso not arrived in Arezzo.  However, the commission was not formally given to Rosso until eight months later, when he had again come to Arezzo from Pieve S. Stefano after leaving Città di Castello, where he had been allocated an altarpiece on 1 July 1528 (P.20).  The situation is not clear and it is possible that the decision on the firing of Soggi was not actually considered final by him until Rosso received the commission in November.  As noted above, even after Rosso’s departure from Arezzo in September 1529, Soggi was still making claims for payment.  But there is no evidence to indicate that Soggi thought he might get the project back after Rosso moved to France.  So far as the syndics were concerned their decision on 22 March 1528 would appear to have been irrevocable.  Rosso may not have had anything to do with this decision, but circumstantial evidence suggests that he might have.

In any case the commission of this project was transferred to Rosso on 24 November 1528.  He was to be paid 300 ducats and the project was to be completed in two years, with the possibility of extending that time by two months.  Should Rosso die, Lappoli, as guarantor, was to be responsible for the completion of the project.  Until it was completed Rosso was to take on no other work, although he was allowed to finish the altarpiece for Città di Castello that he was in the process of painting.

Rosso was offically commissioned to paint exactly the same areas that had been assigned to Soggi, the vault and the three lunettes beneath it, with images of the Virgin and “stories.”  However, in the “Life” of Soggi, Vasari said that Rosso was given the remainder of the project, which would mean that Soggi’s fresco was not to be destroyed.  There is no certain evidence as to what Rosso intended for the vault.16  The walls present six half-lunette areas, one on each side of the three windows, the areas on the north and south walls being slightly broader than those alongside the Palladian window of the façade wall.  Vasari said that Rosso completed four cartoons but he described only three.  He also said that Rosso made a now lost model of the entire work for Pollastra, which Vasari owned (L.23).  Although none of the cartoons survive, there are drawings that present four of Rosso’s half-lunette compositions, two of which clearly match two that Vasari described, the so-called Allegory of the Immaculate Conception (D.32)17 and the Throne of Solomon (D.34).  Another composition (D.33A, B) would seem to be the third that Vasari described as showing “quando l’Arca federes è portata da Mosè, figurata per la nostra Donna, da cinque virtu circondata.”  The phrase “figurata per la nostra Donna” means, as in Vasari’s use of the same phrase with the Throne of Solomon, that the “Arcs federes” – the Ark of the Covenant – stood for the Virgin and not that the Virgin actually appeared in the scene.  However, the composition preserved fully in one drawing (Fig.D.33Aa) does not show the ark, but it does depict five young women, each with an accompanying putto, four holding each an uninscribed plaque and one an uninscribed banderole, all of which would most certainly have borne significant texts in the executed fresco, probably with reference to the ark or the contents of the ark in relation to the Virgin.  These five women would be the “cinque virtu” specified by Vasari.  Instead of showing the ark, the composition would represent a stairway leading up to the ark beyond the area of the drawing where, in the church, is a pedimented window.18  From this direction, at the upper left, a radiant dove descends.  That Rosso composed another picture for this series also showing five female personifications is unlikely.19  If, then, this composition represents what Vasari described, it would appear that Rosso was given the remainder of Soggi’s project and Soggi’s scene was to be preserved.  Three of Rosso’s known compositions that can be related to Vasari’s descriptions have proportions that indicate they were made for the north and south walls, and their shapes are such as to fill the three half-lunettes that remained blank after Soggi executed his fresco on the south wall.20  If not, Rosso’s fourth composition for the space where Soggi’s fresco still exists is lost, although the number of copies of the other three makes one wonder why at least a single copy of the supposed fourth has not turned up and why a fourth was not actually described by Vasari.  He may simply have erred in saying that four cartoons had been made.

Except for a fourth composition that is an early version of the Allegory of the Immaculate Conception (Fig.D.31), planned, it would seem, for the façade wall (on which, see below), the drawings that survive for the Lagrime project would seem to be those from which the three cartoons described by Vasari were made.  Eleven pieces of cartoons are recorded in the inventory of 1532 that lists the items that Rosso left behind in Arezzo (see DOC.13 and L.26).  These would have been sections of the cartoons that Vasari mentioned.  He may also have known the smaller compositional drawings from which the cartoons were made and which are our only visual sources of them.  Two of these may be those listed in the 1532 inventory as “doi desegnetti in carta in uno guluppo, per la Cappella magiore” (L.24).  Other unspecified drawings listed in the inventory could also have been for this project.  One listing gives “ventiotto carte de designi ignudi” (L.30) and another states “un altro ingnudo rosso” (L.31), which might bear a relation to Vasari’s comment that Rosso “Disegnò anco uno studio d’ignudi per quell’opera” (L.25).

According to Vasari, Rosso made for Giovanni Pollastra a model for the entire project (L.23).  Hence it may be concluded that he devised scenes and figures for all the walls that Rosso was commissioned to fresco.  Other than the references to nude studies, only one item in the inventory specifies a subject: “Doi Sibille in carta verde” (L.29). This could mean either one drawing of two sibyls or two drawings of one each.  Sibyls could very well have found their places in the iconographic scheme devised by Pollastra.  Soggi’s fresco shows the Tiburtine Sibyl.  Sibyls could have been on the vault, and or on its four pendentives, reflecting possibly their appearance on the Sistine Ceiling.  Or they could have been planned for the smaller half-lunettes of the façade wall flanking Marcillat’s window of the Annunciation, after a change of program that seems to have been made and that will be considered below.

The cartoons that Giovanni de’Medici temporarily acquired in 1583 are probably related to the “Undici pezzi de cartoni in quattro guluppi” listed in the inventory of 1532.  This acquisition also included a “Catino” that may have been the model mentioned by Vasari (L.23).  In 1759, Bottari commented that the cartoons remained (after their return from Giovanni de’Medici) in the rooms of the Compagnia della Madonna delle Lagrime, but, at the time that Bottari wrote, some were visible (“pariti” for “appariti”) and some were almost entirely faded or deteriorated (“quasi svaniti”).  None of the cartoons survive.

Of the three compositions described by Vasari that are known from drawings, two are arched at the left and one at the right.  Two show the light falling from the upper left while in the third it falls from the upper right.  As the proportions of Rosso’s drawings indicate that they were made for the north and south walls it may be assumed that the light was related to the direction of light entering from the window in the façade wall.  In this case, the three spaces for Rosso’s scenes can be precisely determined.  The Allegory of the Immaculate Conception (Fig.D.32), with the light falling from the upper right, would have been intended for the space to the left of Soggi’s fresco, where the figures are also illuminated from the upper right.  The other two scenes would have been for the north wall, with the Throne of Solomon (Fig.D.34) at the left and the Allegory of the Virgin as the Ark of the Covenant at the right.

This arrangement, the only one that seems possible on the basis of the fall of the light in these scenes, leaves Soggi’s fresco untouched.  Although Vasari said that Rosso was commissioned what remained of the project, the documents indicate that Rosso was assigned all the same spaces that Soggi had been given.  The fourth composition, mentioned above, that can be related to this project may indicate what the circumstances were that allow for both of these possibilities.  The drawing of it, actually a copy in the Louvre, shows an Allegory of the Immaculate Conception (Fig.D.31) partly of the same composition as the scene that Vasari described.  But it shows Eve in another position, bent forward with both her arms behind her, tied to a tree, her posture conforming to the curved left edge of the scene.  It also wholly lacks any indication of the figures of Diana and Apollo, and in particular, given that the drawing is cut at the top, the extended left arm of Diana that almost touches Eve’s raised left arm in the other version of this scene.  The Louvre drawing is a smaller version of this allegory and is contained within a half-lunette that is narrower than that of the other version of this subject.  This smaller format coincides with the areas that were available at either side of the façade window.  As the arc of this smaller scene is at the left, it would appear to have been planned for the area to the left of the window.  It is not known what was intended for the area at the right.  But subsequently it must have been decided to move the Allegory of the Immaculate Conception to the left half-lunette of the north wall, that is, to the left of Soggi’s fresco.  For this space the composition had to be enlarged, as it was by the addition of the figures of Apollo and Diana, their inclusion certainly determined by Pollastra.  This shift may well indicate that while originally Rosso was meant to replace Soggi’s fresco, it was finally decided to keep it.  Perhaps sibyls were then devised by Pollastra and Rosso for the spaces at the sides of the façade window, the sibyls mentioned in the inventory of 1532.  The fourth undescribed cartoon mentioned by Vasari could have been for such a figure in one of the façade spaces.21

One other circumstance might be mentioned.  The cartoons Vasari described were for the walls flanking the vault.  As this was a fresco project one might think that the work was planned to be executed from the vault down.  Hence, it would seem to follow that the cartoons for the vault would have been done first.  Maybe they were and Vasari simply did not mention them.  Or just possibly none were made because, in spite of the requirements of the commission, Rosso had decided not to fresco the vault.  If he also decided, or it was decided for him, to retain Soggi’s fresco, then the project would have become considerably smaller than the documents indicate.  Vasari stated that Rosso kept procrastinating in the making of the cartoons because of his dislike of fresco painting.  The frescoes were, in fact, and again according to Vasari, going to be executed by Raffaellino del Colle (da Borgo Sansepolcro) and others, a circumstance that does not appear in the documents, where the implication is that Rosso would paint them himself.22  The two drawings on panel mentioned above (L.27) could possibly have been colored oil sketches made to serve those who would execute the fresoes.  Perhaps quite early in his work on the project Rosso began to think of reducing it, but the litigation following his departure from Arezzo does not suggest this.23

It is not specifically known that the unrecorded program that Soggi was to paint was devised by Pollastra.  Soggi’s sole fresco has an unusual subject that could have been part of an early scheme by the learned Aretine canon.  But Soggi’s Augustus and the Tiburtine Sibyl gives no appearance of having the ingenuity of Pollastra behind it.  It might, however, have prompted the canon to include other Sibyls in his program for Rosso in his inventing richer allegorical subjects for the more talented Florentine painter to paint.


1 Franklin, 1994, 292, n. 36, specifies this Latin version of the document as the notary’s master copy.  Franklin, 1994, 233, 292, n. 36, 312-313, Appendix H, DOCUMENT 5, transcribed, as the painter’s copy of it, another copy: State Archives, Florence, Corporazione religiose soppresse, 20 (S. Orsola detto la SS.ma Annunziata di Arezzo), 18 (filza seconda di memorie della Vener.  Compagnia della SS.ma Annunziata), c. 101r-v (cited by Milanesi, in Vasari-Milanesi, V, 164, n. 2, and Del Vita, 1913, 321; published by Hirst, 1964, 125-126). Another copy of the contract in Latin is found in: State Archives, Florence, Compagnie religiose soppresse, Arezzo, A CLXXXVIII, Vol. 220/1 (dal no. 4 al no. 6), Di Ofitii e Partiti, Segnato B, 1517-1550, no. 4, fol. 93v-94v (mentioned, along with other S. Maria delle Lagrime documents, in Mancini, 1909, 69, n. 4; and in Silvano Pieri, “La Compagnia della SS. Annunziata dal XIV al XVIII Secolo,” in Annunzanta Arezzo, 1990 [1993], 39 and n. 54; see also Franklin, 1994, 292, n. 37).

2 Franklin, 1994, 233, 292, n. 37, 313, Appendix H, DOCUMENT 6.

3 From Franklin, 1994, 235, 293, ns. 45-46, 313, Appendix H, DOCUMENT 7, as containing on 24 July 1529 Rosso’s third and final graduated payment of 50 ducats for this project.  In n. 46, Franklin states to see also ASF, Comp. RS, Arezzo, A188, vol. 2219, Entrata e Uscita, Segnato C. 1522-1534, fol. 234v: 29 November 1528; folio 238v: 8 April 1529; fol. 241v: July 1529 undated, but falling between entries of the twenty-first and twenty-fourth of the month.

4 Mentioned in Franklin, 1994, 235, 293, n. 47.  Silvano Pieri, “La Compagnia della SS. Annunziata dal XIV at XVIII Secolo,” in Annunziata Arezzo, 1990 (1993), 40, n. 55, refers to another document naming the sum of “ducati 150” (A.S.F. 33, c. 305 and 162).

5 Unchecked from Franklin, 1994, 235, 293, n. 48.

6 Published by Coradini, 1960, 136-137, Doc. V, with the month wrongly as June.  Mentioned in Carroll, 1987, 212, n. 5, under no. 67, with Coradini’s mistake repeated, and in Franklin, 1994, 235, 293, n. 49, and in Silvano Pieri, “La Compagnia della SS. Annunziata dal XIV al XVIII Secolo,” in Annunziata Arezzo, 1990 (1993), 40, and n. 55.

7 From Franklin, 1994, 235, 293, n. 50.

8 See Franklin, 1994, 235, and 293, n. 52, with reference to ASF. Comp.RS, Arezzo, A188, vol. 2213, Debitori e Creditori, Segnato T, 1577-1585, fol. 271 left.

9 The contents of the document of this commission are reported by Milanesi in Vasari-Milanesi, V, 164, n. 2, and VI, 24, n. 1; Franklin, 1994, 231, 311-312, Appendix H, DOCUMENT 3, transcribes the text.  Silvana Pieri, “La Compagnia della SS. Annunziata dal XIV al XVIII Secolo,” in Annunziata Arezzo, 1990 (1993), 39, n. 53, gives the date as 21 May 1527; stating also that “Il 16 Dic.1526 l’ufficio del Desco fa una commissione per locare ad pingendum voltas in oratorio dicte societatis super Capellam Virg. M. Lacrimarum” (A.S.F. 4-77v).  For an extensive account of this fresco, see Luciana Borri Cristelli, “La Leggenda d’Augusto e la Sibilla Tiburtina nella Redazione di Niccolò Soggi,” in Annunziata Arezzo, 1990 (1993), 151-168.

10 See Coradini, 1960, 117-118, Marchini, 1961, 116, 118, 119, Fig. 14, Dezzi Bardeschi, 1964, 54, 57, 60-65, 68, 70, 74-75, 95, including excellent views of the atrium, and Franklin, 1994, 230-231, 292, n. 10.

11 See Del Vita, 1913, 320-324, and Franklin, 1994, 227, 232-233, 241, 251-252, 259, Pl. 183.  Soggi’s fresco, approximately four meters high, was whitewashed over at some time, it would seem, after the second edition of Vasari’s Lives.  It was uncovered in 1910.

12 See Franklin, 1994, 231-232, 311, Appendix H, DOCUMENT 2, the text transcribed.  Coradini, 1960, 125, said Soggi was paid 105 lire on 24 December 1530; in the document published by Franklin the payment on this date is “lire tredici soldi sei.”

13 The contents of the document recording this vote is reported by Milanesi in Vasari-Milanesi, VI, 24, n. 1; see Franklin, 1994, 232, 312, Appendix H, DOCUMENT 4, the text transcribed.  Mentioned also by Silvano Pieri, “La Compagnia della SS. Annunziata dal XIV al XVIII Secolo,” in Annunziata Arezzo, 1990 (1993), 39.

14 See Mancini, 1909, 69, and n. 4; the document of 25 April 1529 on the selection of the experts is transcribed by Franklin, 1994, 314, Appendix H, DOCUMENT 10; the payment of 6 January 1531 is transcribed in Franklin, 1994, 314, Appendix H, DOCUMENT 11.  The latter document is also mentioned in Silvano Pieri, “La Compagnia della SS. Annunziata dal XIV al XVIII Secolo,” in Annunziata Arezzo, 1990 (1993), 39, n. 53, who also notes that the fresco was appraised by Lapppoli for the Compagnia (A.S.F. 2, c. 66v).

15 See L.22.

16 Franklin, 1994, 249, Pl. 198 has suggested that a drawing of the Meeting at the Golden Gate in the Uffizi (Fig.Florence, 6470F; see L.17) may be a copy of a lost drawing by Rosso for the vault.  But this drawing is closely related to Rosso’s Florentine Sposalizio of 1523, as Franklin recognized, and hence the supposed original of it by Rosso would date from the time of his first visit to Arezzo on his way to Rome toward the middle of 1524.  There is no evidence of such a scene having been invented by Rosso at the time of the Lagrime project.  It is doubtful that the contract’s reference to “imaginibus Beate semper Virginis et eius istoriis” specifies anything more than that the frescoes should deal with the Virgin.

17 Franklin, 1994, 241-246, prefers to see the subject as The Virgin as the Second Eve, although he concedes that it might be related to the Immaculate Conception.  But without inscriptions or the presence of God the Father indicating his special selection of the Virgin, Franklin commented that the latter connection cannot be proved.  Nevertheless, the salvation of Adam and Eve that is indicated in the drawing by showing the Virgin removing the apple from Adam’s mouth is made possible because of the Virgin’s immaculacy or freedom from original sin.  As Franklin recognized, the allegorical representation of this subject was at this very time coming into being.  It was again and more elaborately depicted by Rosso in another drawing (Fig.D.30) which possibly dates before the Lagrime project.  There is also a slightly later version by Rosso (Fig.D.39).  Both of these altarpiece designs show Adam and Eve.  The Lagrime scene is part of a program with other allegories of the Virgin which may account for the differences between what Rosso depicted here and what appears in the more iconographically complex allegories of the Immaculate Conception.  Franklin is correct in seeing in the Lagrime scene the Virgin as the Second Eve, the role she has also in Rosso’s other compositions.  But her action in the Lagrime composition refers to her immaculacy in the absence of God-the-Father and inscriptions.

18 The Marian symbolism of this drawing may refer to the “scala coeli” (coelestis) and to the ladder that Jacob saw in his dream, at the same time that it may indicate the stairway that led to the Ark of the Covenant.  I should like to thank Pamela Askew for indicating these interpretations.  On the “Arca foederis,” see Askew, 1990, 120-121; on the “scala coelestis,” Howard Hibbard, Poussin: The Holy Family on the Steps, New York, 1974, 81-91.  It is not very likely that the stairway in the drawing was also meant to indicate the one that led to the Temple of Solomon for this is already implied in the Throne of Solomon composition that Rosso designed for the Lagrime project.

19 However, Franklin, 1994, 246-249, chose to believe that the surviving composition with five women, which he titled Five Images of the Virgin, is not the scene described by Vasari, which, he thought, is lost.  He finds compelling that both the surviving composition and the lost one would have five similar female figures, the one, five Marian figures, the other five Virtues.  It seem to me unlikely that Rosso would have repeated himself to this extent in one project.  The meaning of the so-called Five Images of the Virgin is interpreted by Franklin as showing five figures representing the same woman, one of which would be the Annunciate Virgin and the four others the Virgin in other guises.  Franklin, 1994, 197, thought that a French drawing by Rosso, known from a copy (Fig.D.69), that shows Francis I Adoring the Enthroned Virgin and Child with personifications of Victory, Fame, Heresy and Treason may give some idea of Rosso’s lost Lagrime scene with the Ark of the Covenant.  There is insufficient evidence for these conjectures.

20 Franklin, 1994, 246, thought that the drawing in London of his so-called Five Images of the Virgin is of a slightly narrower shape than the other two compositions, thereby causing him to place it in the narrower field at the right side of the façade window.  But all the surviving compositions have exactly the same proportions, and, in fact, the same size, taking into account different margins.

21Benedetto Spadari, with whom, according to Vasari, Rosso stayed in Arezzo, was a member of the Compagnia of S. Maria delle Lagrime and was one of the group of men who commissioned the project to Rosso.  Lappoli, whom Rosso had met in Florence and with whom Rosso stayed in Arezzo in 1524 on his way to Rome, was the guarantor of the project.  Pollastra, who, according to Vasari, furnished the iconography, was Lappoli’s uncle (see Vasari, in Vasari-Milanesi, VI, 10-11).  The association of these three men and their connection to the Lagrime project might indicate that Rosso’s commission began as a wholly new one, eliminating Soggi’s fresco.  Rosso may well have had a role in the devising of the initial and subsequent inconography (see Chastel, 1977 [1978, I, 372], on the recognition in Rosso’s contract of his artistic freedom and originality).  On Giovanni Pollastra, see Kallab, 1908, 11-17, 54, no. 46, Julian Klieman, in Giorgio Vasari, 1981, 103-104, under no. 1, and Franklin, 1994, 229, 234, 236, 244, 248-250, 294, n. 119.

22 Milanesi’s transcription of Vasari’s passage that mentions the execution of the paintings has a comma not after “borgo” but after “altri” so that it clearly indicates that the frescoes were to be executed by Raffaello dal Borgo and others.  This does seem to be Vasari’s meaning.

23 The Latin document that records the commission of the project to Rosso states that were Rosso to die Lappoli was to complete the project.  No stipulations were made about the completion of the project should Rosso not be able to finish it for other reasons.  It is possible that Rosso reduced the project so that others could easily execute it.  However, the evidence of the litigation following Rosso’s departure from Italy does not indicate anything other than that Rosso ran out on his obligations; nothing suggests that others were to complete his work.