This monumental drawing for an Annunciation can be listed among the highest accomplishments of the draftsman Niccolò Trometta, the talented pupil of Taddeo Zuccaro (1529-1566). Stylistically, the sheet closely relates to Trometta’s preparatory drawings for his frescoes in the apse in Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome (1565-68), the artist’s early masterpiece (for an overview see J. Gere, 'Drawings by Niccolò Martinelli, Il Trometta', Master Drawings, I, no. 4, 1963, pp. 3-18 and M.S. Bolzoni, 'Qualche aggiunta a Niccolò Trometta disegnatore', Horti Hesperidum, I, 2014, pp. 75-98).
The Annunciation’s luminous and vibrant technique is still much indebted to that of Taddeo Zuccaro, whose Ecce Homo in the Mattei chapel is here quoted in the figure of the Archangel Gabriel, a tour de force of ornamental elegance. Trometta achieved here an unprecedented sense of monumentality that makes this composition seem to emerge almost in relief from the sheet. As recorded by documents, an Annunciation was commissioned from the artist in January 1565 as part of a larger cycle dedicated to the Life of the Virgin for the chapel of Paolo de Castro in Santa Maria della Consolazione, Rome. The present sheet – a highly finished modello or presentation drawing to be submitted to the patron – might perhaps constitute a record of this unfinished, prestigious commission.
We are grateful to Marco Simone Bolzoni for confirming the attribution to Trometta based on a digital image.