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working in jewels and designing and casting type.
Niccolo Serradenari, who wrote a short biography
of the artist, specially refers to him as an artificer
of juwels, and the papers preserved at Mantua
mention a long chain set with " engraved gems
curiously mounted in gold so as to turn around,"
made by Raibolini as a gift for the Duchess of
Mantua. As a typefounder he also attained a con-
siderable repute, and will always be remembered
as the man who made for Aldus Manutius the first
famous " italic " type. 1

1 ' Chi era Francesco da Bologua,' by Panizzi. Londra,
1873, IGmo.






A great start was given to the art of painting in
Bologna when Lorenzo Costa was called there in
1483 ; but there is no evidence that Francia ever
became his pupil, and he was, in fact, too old a
man when he commenced painting to be called
the pupil of any man. But there is abundant
evidence of the very close friendship that existed
between the two men, and that from no less an
authority than the notebook of Francia himself,
which, although not now in existence, was seen by
Malvasia in 1841, and quoted by him in his work
on the Bolognese painters. Malvasia stated that
the artists worked in the same building, Francia
carrying on his goldsmith's work on the ground-
floor, whilst in the floor above Lorenzo Costa was
painting his pictures. It is quite possible that the
ooming of Costa to Bologna was the cause of
Francia's change of craft, and that but for the
friendship between the two men Francia would
have remained- all his life a goldsmith ; but Costa
was much the younger man of the two, and there
is nothing whatever to show either in archives or
in work that he became in any sense the master of
his older friend. Their work is so much alike in
its earlier stages that pictures by the one man
have in the past been attributed to the other ; but
very soon Francia surpassed his friend and pro-
duced works that were finer in conception, colour-
ing, and refinement than Costa could ever have
executed. For the Church of the Misericordia the
two friends united to paint an altar-piece, and the
centre panel by Francia and the upper part by
Costa still remain at Bologna, while the predella,
by Costa, is at Milan. Francia signed his pictures
with the signature " Francia Avrifex," and Fra
Leandro Albert! tells us in his ' Storia d' Italia'
that he signed his metal-work and medals as
" Francia Pictor " (" die nell' opere da lui fatte in
pittura si scriveva orefice, e nell' opere di metallo
pittore "). In the same way Orcagna signed his
work in marble as " Andreas Pictor," and his
paintings as "Andreas Sculptor," to prove his
mastery of the two arts ; but we have no signed
metal-work remaining of Francia's by which to
prove the truth of Alberti's statement, which may,
however, be considered as in all probability an
accurate one, as it is in accordance with the habit
of the time. It is impossible to say what is the
earliest work of Francia's. His earliest dated work
is the ' Madonna and Child,' with six saints, in the
Gallery at Bologna (78), which was painted for the
Church of the Misericordia ; but that picture is
quite evidently not the first work executed by the
master. The difficulty is to believe that it is even
an early work, it is so admirable in technique and
in colour ; hut it would appear that the training
which Francia had in his niello-work had prepared
him so well for the use of the brush that he sprang
fully equipped on to the field of action upon which
he was to gain so great a victory. The ' St.
Stephen ' of the Borghese Gallery is usually con-
sidered to be one of the artist's earliest works ; but
probably the picture at Berlin preceded it, and
'The Crucifixion' at Bologna in the Archiginnasio
is even earlier still. This work very closely re-
sembles the niello that has been mentioned, and
was in all probability painted from a sketch done
for a similar work in niello. Perhaps another
'Crucifixion,' which is now in the Gallery at Bo-
logna, is his next work. The Berlin ' Madonna '
(125) is a small one, and may on that account
have preceded the one just named. The inscrip-

tion on the Berlin picture may be thus translated:
" Here, painted by thy hands, O Francia, at tho
expense of Bartolommeo Bianchini, dwells the
greatest of Mothers." Lord Wemyss has a picture
which very closely resembles this one.

It is quite inconceivable that the picture dated
1494, which Vasari states was the first work that
Francia executed, could have been so, as it is
marked by such skill in composition, such grand
colouring, and such admirable technique, that
although Francia took a high position immediately
he began to paint, yet he must have done many
early works ere he could by any possibility have
produced so fine a picture as this. It was painted
for Messer Bartolommeo Felicini, a wealthy citizen
of Bologna, who had founded a chapel in the
Church of the Misericordia outside the city walls.
Messer Francesco also presented a jewel to the
church, which the records say was set by Francia;
and so beautiful was it esteemed to be, that
by the desire of the Chapter it was depicted in
the picture, and can be seen hanging over the
head of the Madonna. For the next year, 1495,
we have but one dated work, and that is now at
Pressburg in the collection of Count Jean Palfly,
who acquired it at the Dudley sale (Lot 62) in
1892. It was mentioned by Waagen, and ex-
hibited at Manchester, and represents the Madonna
and Child with St. Joseph. In 1499 Giovanni
Bentivoglio gave to Francia the commission to
paint the altar-piece for his own chapel in the
great Church of San Giacomo Maggiore. Vasari
tells us that its success was so great that it
obtained for the artist two other commissions
immediately. One of these was from the son of
the ruler, Monsignore de' Bentivogli, who was
Archdeacon of Bologna, and Papal Protonotary,
and who ordered for the Church of the Miseri-
cordia an altar-piece which was to be clone jointly
by the two friends Francia and Costa. The sub-
ject of the centre, which Francia was to do, was
' The Nativity ' ; this is now in the Bologna
Gallery (81). Calvi states that on this picture are
the following words, painted in gold letters :


CONSVMATVM ; but no trace of them is to be seen
at the present time, although it is quite possible
that in Calvi's time (1812) they may have been

It was for this same church that Francia painted
the puzzling little predella representing the Birth
and the Death of Christ, which is now in the Gallery
at Bologna (82), and which in so many ways differs
from his usual work. Another picture done for the
same building is a very important work named by
Vasari, who says that it was painted at the request
of a lady of the Manzuoli family, and that in it
" he depicted Our Lady with the Child in her
arms, San Giorgio, San Giovanni Batista, San
Stefano, and Sant' Agostino, with an angel beneath."
In 1500 Francia painted an 'Annunciation' for the
Church of the Anmmziata, outside, as Vasari tells
us at that time, the gate of San Mammolo, and
which, he states, " is esteemed to be very well
executed." It is probable that a little earlier than
that he executed for the same church the enthroned
' Virgin and Child ' at Bologna, which so closely
resembles in its general arrangement the last-
named picture. The picture in the Hermitage
Gallery was painted in about 1500. The next
dated picture is the one at Berlin, dated 1502,
which in its peculiar arrangement foreshadowed



the much later picture in the Church of San
Frediano at Lucca. The other two representations
of the 'Annunciation' come at this time. One is
in the Gallery at Bologna, the other at Milan, and
was done for the Duke of Mantua. For his great
friend Messer Polo Zambeccaro, Francia painted,
as Vasari tells us, " a tolerably large picture
representing the Birth of Christ which was much
extolled." This work now hangs in the Gallery
at Forli, and must be given to this period.
Other works belonging to this period are the
Vienna picture of the Madonna with two saints,
the single figure of St. Francis in Dr. Frizzoni's
Gallery, the ' Madonna in the Rose Garden '
at Munich, the pathetic head of the Man of
Sorrows bearing His cross, now to be found in
the Lochis Gallery at Bergamo (221), which was
the predella picture, or, rather, the square picture
in a predella below one of the Bologna altar-pieces,
;md the half-length figure of St. Sebastian that be-
longs to the Duke of Fernan Nunez at Madrid.
At Cesena is 'The Presentation of the Divine Child
to Simeon in the Temple.'

The picture in the Church of San Martino
Maggiore at Bologna is an undoubted and most
important work, and one in which the artist has
himself designed the frame for the picture, and
which still remains in the chapel for which it was
first painted ; and another famous one is now in the
Chantilly Collection, which, originally in the North-
wick sale, passed into the possession of M. Reiset,
from whom it was bought for Chantilly by the Due
d'Aumale. The altar-piece at Berlin, signed and
dated 1502, has strong points of affinity with the
much later altar-piece that stands in the Church
of San Frediano at Lucca, for which place it was
first painted. In 1505 Francia painted, by special
contract for the commune of his native town, in
the dining-hall of the Podesta Communale, a
Madonna known as the ' Madonna del Terremoto,'
to commemorate the deliverance of the place from
total destruction by an earthquake which visited
Bologna in June of that year, and caused the
greatest alarm and injury. The chief works, how-
ever, that remain to show what Francia could do
in fresco are those in the Chapel of Sta. Cecilia.
One only of these bears a date, and that is not
one of the two done by Francia, but the fresco
next to it, which was the work of Costa, and is
dated 1506. This, however, in all probability, gives
us the date for the entire series, which it is almost
certain was completed before 1507. Only two of
the panels were the work of Francia, and these
are the two nearest to the altar on the Gospel and
Epistle side of the chapel, and, very fortunately,
they are the two in the best condition of the
entire series. The two by Francia illustrate ' The
Marriage of St. Cecilia and Valerian ' and ' The
Burial of St. Cecilia.'

The next landmark that we have to guide us
is found in the date upon the Dresden picture,
1509. There are beyond this two pictures bear-
ing the dates 1512 and 1514, and two dated 1515,
one at Parma, and one at Turin ; and then we
have the date of the death of the artist, 1517.
Between these dates comes the long series of
pictures of the Madonna and Child, the most be-
wildering of all the works of Francia to set into
chronological order, and, in fact, the most difficult
to deal with in any way, so much have they been
copied, and so much was the type of Francia's
group repeated by the host of his pupils. It must


honestly be stated, in respect to this group of

Eictures, that there is no finality in attributions ;
om time to time evidence may arise that will up-
set the best-founded theories, especially seeing that
the sons of Francia so cleverly copied their father's
work that it is a matter almost of impossibility to
be quite certain as to several pictures that bear the
name of the artist. The famous ' Baptism of
Christ ' at Dresden is dated 1509. The one named
by Vasari may be the one now at Hampton Court
of the same subject. The two works compared
with each other yield several interesting diverg-
ences, but both are genuine works by the master's
own hand, and the signatures are true ones. The
Dresden picture is dated 1509, but the one at
Hampton Court is far older, and is much more
of a Quattrocento work.

There is a picture dated 1514 at Bologna in the
Ercolani Collection, a small half-length, represent-
ing ' God the Father Almighty,' and has upon it a
long inscription, telling the names of those who
commissioned it in 1514. It resembles a similar
one which is to be found in the Ambrosiana
Gallery, and is there called a ' Doctor of the
Church,' but which is probably the panel from
the upper part of some altar-piece, representing
' God the Father.' The ' Crucifixion ' in the Louvre
was painted for St. Job's Church at Bologna, and
belongs to about the same period. At Ferrara
Francia painted the altar-piece which is called by
the Ferrarese ' The Picture of all the .Saints,' and
which represents the Coronation of the Virgin.
The only other crowded composition that Francia
painted is 'The Adoration of the Magi,' which is
now at Dresden. The great altar-piece in London,
by which Francia is best known, is in every way
a masterpiece. It was painted for the Buonvisi
Chapel in the Church of San Frediano at Lucca.
This chapel was founded by Benedetto, the son of
Lorenzo Buonvisi, in 1510, and Benedetto's will,
which is dated August 16, 1510, provides for the
maintenance of the chapel by landed property, and
speaks of the sons of Paolo Buonvisi, the favourite
brother of the founder, as his eventual heirs.
Benedetto died before 1516, and at Lucca, in the
manuscript volumes written by a certain Canon
Vincenzo Baroni, which contain a vast amount of
curious information as to the city, is a brief
abstract of his will. The object of the foundation
of the chapel was the welfare of the souls of the
Buonvisi family, and it was specially dedicated to
St. Anne. These facts account for the presence of
the various saints whom Francia has introduced
into his picture. St. Anne appears in so prominent
a position as the special patron of the chapel ; St.
Laurence as the patron of the father of the founder ;
St. Paul as the patron of the founder's brother
and heir ; St. Sebastian as the plague saint, as in
1510 the city of Lucca was visited by the fell
disease, and pra3 - ers would doubtless be offered
for the intercession of that saint ; and the last of
the four saints, who is termed St. Romuald in the
National Gallery catalogue, is probably St. Bene-
dict, the patron of the founder. The Duke of
Lucca acquired the picture from the last of the
Buonvisi, a Princess Elisa Poniatowski (nee Mon-
tecatini), and, on the sale of the Duke's effects, it
was brought to London. The picture at Parma
bears the same date as the Turin ' Deposition,'
1515, and was therefore one of the latest pictures
painted by Francia. In the original records of
the Guilds there is the mention of Francia' a




Alinari fAo/o] Bologna Gallery



matriculation as a goldsmith recorded thus : " 1482.
Francesco de Maurua de Raibolino 10 X " (per-
haps the tenth of the tenth month) ; and again
further on, when he took office in the Guild, the
fact is thus stated : " 1486. Francesco Marco de
Raibolino Congr. S. Niccolo e S. Felice '' (referring
to where he resided) "detto il Pittore il Franza.''
There are also the entries as to the matriculation
of his sons to be seen in the same book. In a paper
about the Mint at Bologna there are two entries
one stating in very lengthy form that in November
1506 the painter Francia was Master of the Mint,
by the seal of Pope Julius II. ; and the other
recording that " on November 27, 1508, Messer
Franza the painter and engraver of metals of all
sorts was Master of the Mint by the will of the
Pope." There are also in the Guild records notes
of his appointment as Gonfaloniere del Popolo and
Tribuni della Plebe on December 10, 1482 ; and,
lastly, the two entries of the death of the painter
to which Calvi alludes, one of which simply records
that Francia died in 1517, as follows : " 1517 a di
Gennaro mori Francesc Francia orefice e pittore
eccellente" ; the other, which is the Seccadinari
record, reads : " 1517 7 Gennaro mori Messer
Francesco Francia miglior orefice d' Italia et
buonissimo pittore, bravissimo giojelliere, bellis-
simo di persona et eloquentissimo, benche fosse
filiuolo di un falegname, della cappella di Santa
Caterina di Saragozza." It is not known where
he was buried, but he is believed to lie in the
Church of San Francesco, or in its cloister near to
the tomb which is now occupied by the remains of
his son Giacomo. There is no monument to be
found of him in that church or cloister.

One of his best portraits is in England, and
is the great portrait of Bartolommeo Bianchini
belonging to Mr. Salting, which was shown at the
Burlington Fine Arts Club. There is also a picture
at Vienna! in the Liechtenstein Gallery of 'The
Marchese Bovio ' that was restored to Francia
by Crowe and Cavalcaselle, and there is one at
Frankfort of a man dressed in black which is now
with good cause given to the artist. The one
that hangs in the Tribune in the Uffizi, and in-
scribed as the portrait of Evangelista Scappi, is
another portrait regarding which there seems to be
no doubt ; and there are two portraits in the Pitti
Gallery which probably were painted by this artist
rather than by his son Giacomo, whose name they
bear at this moment.

One of the most interesting portraits which
Francia painted is of the young Prince Federigo
Gonzaga, son of Isabella d'Este, who was sent as
a hostage to the Papal Court, and placed in the
hands of Julius II. His affectionate mother desired
to have a portrait of her boy before he left her
charge, and the commission was given to Lorenzo
Costa, who was at that time attached to the Court
at Mantua ; but it was eventually transferred to
Francia. The picture was finished on August
10, 1510, and sent to Isabella, who, in a letter
which she wrote to Girolamo Costa, expressed her
very high appreciation of it, and her great delight
at possessing it. She sent thirty ducats of gold to
Francia for it, but returned the portrait to the
artist, requesting him to touch the hair lightly, as
it was too blond in colour. Afterwards it was sent
to Rome, as the father of the youthful Frederick,
who was at that time at the Papal Court, desired
to show the portrait to the Pope and to many of
the Cardinals, and thither it went in November.

In May 1512 Isabella presented the picture to a
gentleman of Ferrara named Zaninello, who had
rendered her great services, and it probably re-
mained at Ferrara until brought to Paris among
Napoleon's spoils. The father of its present owner,
Mr. A. W. Leatham, bought it from the Napoleon
Collection, and for many years it hung unrecognized
at Miserden Park, until in 1902 it was exhibited
at the Burlington Fine Arts Club, and identified
by Mr. Herbert Cook, whose articles in the
' Athenseum ' of February 7 and the ' Burlington
Magazine ' for April 1903 fully describe it. 0. C. W:

See ' Franeia,' by G. C. Williamson (G. Bell &
Sons, 1901), for fuller information as to this artist.

Some of his most notable works are :


Lochis Coll.

Royal Gallery

(Sala del

Francia, E.)

Palazzo Ercolani.

Library in
Church of SS.Vitale]
ed Agricola (Jirst
chapel on the left}. \
Church of S. Mar-
tino (Jirst chapel).

Oratory of Sta.

Our Lord bearing His Cross.
Madonna and Saints. Signed



Church of Sta. Maria della,

The Annunciation. (From

the Oratory of S. Girolamo

di Miramonte.)
Madonna and Saints. (Front

the Church of Sta. Maria

della Misericordia.)
The Adoration of the Christ.



GINI . DICAVIT. (From the
Church of Sta. Maria della
Misericordia, where it
originally formed the central
panel of a large altar-piece.
The upper part, Ity Costa, is
still in situ. 21te predella,
Ity Costa, signed and dated
1499, is in the Brera.)

The Life of Christ. (From
the Church of Sta. Maria,
della Misericordia.)

A Fieta. (From the Church
of the Misericordia.)

The Annunciation. Signed


MCCCCC. (From the Church
of St. Francis.)
The Madonna and Saints.



Church of the Annunciation.)

The Crucifixion. Signed


the Church of the Annunci-

God the Father. Small half-
length. Inscribed PETRONIO


The Crucifixion. (Painted
about 1494.)

Madonna an 1 Child.

Madonna and Child with
Saints. The splendid frame
was also designed by Francia.

Two Frescoes of 1506, repre-
senting (1) The Marriage
of St. Valerian with Sta.


Bologna. Ch. of St.


Podesta Com-


Church of S. Gia-
como Mag(jiore,

Berlin. Royal Gallery.

Cessna. Picture Gallery.

Dresden. Royal Gallery.

Ferrara. Cathedral.

Florence. Accademia.

Pitti Palace.

Vffizi Palace.


Frankfort. Staedtl Gall.

Glasgow. Corporation Gall
Hampton Court.

London. National Gall.

Earl of Iforthbrook.

Cecilia, and (2) The Burial
of Sta. Cecilia.

t Madonna and Child.

Madonna del Terremoto.

Madonna and Child with

Saints. Stoned JOHANNI


AVBIFEX FiNxrr. (1499.)
Virgin and Child enthroned
with Saints. Signed FRANCIA


(From the Church of St.
Cecilia at Modena.)
The Holy Family. Signed


The Presentation. Signed


The Annunciation. This pic-
ture,origiually in the North-
wick Collection, was bought
from M. Reiset.

The Baptism of Christ. Ac-
cording to Vasari this pic-
ture was formerly at Mo-
dena. It is not, however,
mentioned in the list of
Dresden pictures purchased
at Modena. It was dam-
aged during the bombard-
ment of Dresden in 1760
by a fragment of a shell.

The Adoration of the Magi.

The Coronation of the Ma-
donna. Signed FRANCISCVS


Virgin and Child with Two

Saints. (Bought, in 1818,

from Felice Cartoni at


Portrait of a Man.
Portrait of a Man.
Portrait of EvangelistaScappi.

In his hands is a letter,

bearing upon it: "Duo.

Vangelista di Scappi Fr.


The Birth of Christ.
A Portrait. Portrait of a man

dressed in black clothes.

(Purchased in 1832 from J.

D. Passavant.)
The Nativity.
The Baptism of Christ.

Signed on a cartellino :


(Acquired with the Mantuan
Collection by Charles I., and
described in his catalogue as
" Uno (juadro sopra asse con
N. S. battezato da S. Gio-
vanni di inano del Franza."
See also Claude Phillips on
the Gallery of Charles J.
(Seeley), and ' Archivio'
iii. 293.)

The Virgin with the Infant
Christ, and St. Anne en-
throned, surrounded by
Saints. Signed FBANCIA


The Virgin and Two Angels
weeping over the Dead
Body of Christ.

The Virgin and Child with
two Saints.

Holy Family with St. An-
thony. Inscribed F

London. George Salting,

J. E. Taylor, Esq.

Sir George Otto


,, Thomas Agnew 8f

Sir E. J. Poynter,


Sir J. C. Robinson.

Lucca. Ch. ofS. Frediano.

Palazzo Mansi.

Madrid. Duke 'of Fernan


Portrait of Bartolommeo
Bianchini. (Fromthe Collec-
tion of 'the Princess deSagan.)

Virgin and Child with Saints.

Madonna and Child and Saint.
(Dudley Sale, 1892, Lot 63,
525; Winter Exhibition,
1892. Sold at Ruston Sale
for 504.)

Madonna and Child and two

Drawing of a Dance of Bac-
chanals. (Pen and bistre.)

Drawing of an Ancient Sacri-
fice. (Pen and bistre.)

The Coronation of the

Madonna and Child.





Dr. Frizzoni.

Modena. Palace of the
Marchesa Cocci

Brera. The Annunciation. (Fromthe

Ducal Palace of Mantua.)
St. Anthony of Padua (with

a landscape background).
The Almighty Father.
St. Francis.


ca- V

Old Gallery.



Parma. Royal Gallery.

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