Passerotti, Bartolomeo an Italian painter, was born about 1540 at Bologna. He studied under Taddeo Zuccara at Rome, and is mentioned by Vasari as one of the assistants of that master. He is also commended by Borghini and Lomazzo. Passerotti resided in the early part of his life at Rome, where he executed some works for the churches, the most esteemed of which is the Martyrdom of St. Paul. On his return to Bologna he painted many altar- pieces for the churches, the most celebrated of which are, the Adoration of
the Magi, in St. Pietro; the Annunciation, in St. Martino Maggiore; The Virgin on a Throne, surrounded by St. John the Baptist and other Saints, in St. Giacomo Maggiore, which last work was avowedly painted in competition with the Caracci, and elicited their praise. The exquisite degree of diligence and refinement which Passerotti displayed in this work he rarely used; but he generally painted in a bold, free style, with remarkable facility of execution. He also excelled in portraits, and in this branch Guido ranked him next to Titian, preferring him before the Caracci themselves. He opened a school at Bologna, which was attended. by many distinguished masters. Lanzi says "he was the first at Bologna to make a grander display, and began to vary Scripture histories by drawing from the naked torsi." Passerotti possessed remarkable skill in designing with his pen, a gift which drew to his school Agostino Caracci. He also wrote a book, from which he taught the symmetry and anatomy of the human body essential to the artist. His pictures are distinguished by a sparrow, in allusion to his name — a custom derived from the ancients, and practiced by many modern — artists. Zani describes Passerotti as a designer and engraver. He says, also, that he is called Il Maestro al Passera (the Master of the Sparrow), from his having used a sparrow between the letters B. and P. as his rebus, but this is not mentioned by any other writer. Bartsch commends Passerotti highly for his ability as a designer, and for the. freedom, and boldness of his mailer of engraving. He enumerates and describes fifteen prints by him, also two mentioned by Gori and Rost, and one doubtful; but he does not consider the catalogue complete. He says that Passerotti's prints have at all times been sought for by artists and connoisseurs, and that they have become extremely scarce, the richest collections possessing one or two at most. We append a list of Passerotti's etchings, as given by Bartsch (Peintre-Graveur, tom. 18): The Chastity of Joseph, after Parmiggiano: — The Visitation, after F. Salviati: — The Virgin, with the Infant and St. John; marked P. F. — a similar subject, with the letters B. P. — The Virgin, sitting on the ground, with the infant Jesus on her knees; signed B. Pasarot. — Jesus Christ holding a Banner; signed B. Pasarot. This and the five following are supposed to be part of a suite of thirteen, representing Christ and his Apostles: — St. Peter; the letters B. P. on the left at bottom: — St. Andrew; signed B. Pasarot. at bottom: — St. John the Evangelist; ditto: — St. Bartholomew; ditto: — St. Paul; the letters B. P. on the right at bottom: — Religion, represented by a woman seated, and surrounded by the sun; the letter B. on the right at bottom: — Painting, represented by a young female with wings; the letters B. P. on the right at bottom: The Young Woman in Bed; B. Passarot, written backwards, the letter B. reversed and joined to the P. — The Sacrifice, in which there are eight figures; the letters B. P. on the left at bottom: The "Clarity, mentioned by Gori: — The Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca, after Perugino; mentioned by Rost: — A Holy Family, doubtful: — St. Peter delivered from Prison by an Angel. St. Peter is seated, and the angel, without wings, has placed the left hand on Peter's shoulder, and directs they with the right: at the bottom, in the corner, are the letters B. P.