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DOMENICO DEL BARBIERE

Domenico del Barbiere, also called Domenico Fiorentino, is mentioned by Vasari (1568, II, 211; Vasari-Milanesi, V, 170-171) in his “Life” of Rosso as one of his assistants at Fontainebleau: “Ma il migliore di tutti fu Domenico del Barbieri che è pittore, e Maestro di stucchi eccellentissimo e disegnatore straordinario, come ne dimostrano le sue opere stampate, che si possono annoverare fra le migliori, che vadano atorno.”  He is mentioned by Vasari in his “Life” of Primaticcio (1568, III, 800; Vasari-Milanesi, VII, 412) as assisting that artist after Rosso’s death.  The earliest documentary reference to Barbiere at Fontainebleau is a payment to him within the period 1 January 1538 (new style) and 31 December 1540 (Laborde, Renaissance, I, 1850, 399), but its placement of the records of payments suggests that the payment to him was made early in 1540.  The document does not necessarily indicate that he was working under Rosso.  As there are no earlier references to his activity at Fontainebleau it may be questioned, if he did work under Rosso, just how long he did so, as Rosso died in November 1540.  In spite of Vasari’s praise of him in the context of his “Life” of Rosso, the evidence of Barbiere’s art does not suggest, as is sometimes stated, that he was a pupil of Rosso’s.

Vasari does not say that Barbiere did any works after Rosso’s designs.  However, the models of five of Barbiere’s engravings have more than once been attributed to Rosso.  But only one, the Fame (Fig.E.5), has a good claim to this distinction.  The designs of the others (RE.1-4) show Rosso’s influence but also Primaticcio’s, and it is likely that they are Barbiere’s own inventions.  Zerner (1969, XXXVIII) dated all of Barbiere’s prints between 1540 and 1545.  Wardropper (1985, 26, 29) thought some of his prints may date from the late 1530s.