3. Avanzino Nucci di Castello
(1555-1629)

A Decapitation Before a Sovereign and His Court (St. Paul?)

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Castello, A Decapitation

A Decapitation Before a Sovereign and His Court (St. Paul?)

Brown ink, and wash, 190 x 267 mm.. Full compositional study with pentimenti and finished with extensive use of wash on laid paper, laid down. A bearded figure in supplication kneels before a sovereign on a throne, the executioner with sword behind him, while soldiers in Roman dress stand about. The drawing could be of the Martyrdom of St. Paul, as that was a subject Nucci executed a number of times, but no figure of Peter is to be found, there is no halo over the head of the kneeling figure and no angel with the palm of martyrdom is present. This leaves the possibility, then, that the subject is secular, perhaps the execution of Archimedes by the Romans. Nucci was the pupil and assistant of Niccolo Circignani, il Pomerancio . He worked in Rome and Naples, primarily as a fresco painter, frequently of subjects related to St. Paul.

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