Dr James Mundy has kindly confirmed the attribution to Federico Zuccaro, on the basis of a photograph, in a communication dated 23 April 2004. The drawing was made in preparation for the south octant, dedictated to Poverty and Humility, of Federico's frescoes in the cupola of the Duomo at Florence unveiled on 19 August 1579 (C. Acidini Luchinat, Taddeo e Federico Zuccari, Milan, 1999, II, p. 81, fig. 24). Two other drawings of the saint, of the same dimensions but differing in details, are in the Louvre (inv. 4885) and formerly in the Woodner Collection (sold Christie's, London, 7 July 1992, lot 19).
The identity of the model is revealed in an inscription on the verso of the drawing formerly in the Woodner Collection which explains 'Brother Stephen, Procurator of the Order, dressed as a Camaldolese hermit'. The present drawing confirms that the hermit was in fact Saint Romuald (circa 950-1027), who founded his Order at Camaldoli in 1012. Federico visited the Camaldolite community at Badia di Vallombrosa in August of 1576 and 1577, although the present drawing suggests that the drawings were made on the second trip. Federico also drew a portrait of Niccolò Ungaro, Abbot of Vallombrosa, which he used as a model for Saint Anthony in the same fresco (Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, inv. no. 494, P. Bjurstöm, Italian Drawings, Umbria, Rome, Naples, Stockholm, 1998, no. 590; compare nos. 587-92 for other portraits drawn in Vallombrosa).