Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Francia, Francesco

Federigo Gonzaga
Tempera on wood
45.1 x 34.3 cm (17 3/4 x 13 1/2 in.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In July 1510 the ten-year-old Federigo Gonzaga was sent from Mantua to Rome as a hostage. On his way to Rome he stopped in Bologna, where Francia astounded everyone by painting and delivering his portrait in twelve days. The picture was subsequently taken to Rome for the admiration of the papal court and was only reluctantly returned to Federigo's mother. The fine execution of this famous portrait is typical of Francia's best work.

Francesco Raibolini  (ca. 1447 - 1517), called Francia, was an Italian painter, goldsmith from Bologna. He was an important artist in his day but fame was overshadowed by the next generation of High Renaissance painters. His soft and graceful mature style was mainly based on that of Perugino and Raphael, and was popular and much imitated around Bologna. His most characteristic works are sweet, softly rounded Madonnas. He was also an accomplished portraitist.