Francesco Francia

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The Adoration of the Child by Francesco Raibolini (1500), at the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

Francesco Francia, whose real name was Francesco Raibolini (1447 – January 5, 1517), was an Italian painter, goldsmith, and medallist from Bologna, who was also director of the city mint.[1][2]

He may have trained with Marco Zoppo and was first mentioned as a painter in 1486. His earliest known work is the Felicini Madonna, which is signed and dated 1494. He worked in partnership with Lorenzo Costa, and was influenced by Ercole de' Roberti's and Costa's style, until 1506, when Francia became a court painter in Mantua, after which time he was influenced more by Perugino and Raphael. He himself trained Marcantonio Raimondi and several other artists; he produced niellos, in which Raimondi first learnt to engrave, soon excelling his master, according to Vasari. Raphael's Santa Cecilia is supposed to have produced such a feeling of inferiority in Francia that it caused him to die of depression. However, as his friendship with Raphael is now well-known, this story has been discredited.

He died in Bologna. His sons Giacomo Francia and Giulio Francia were also artists. Among his works is a Baptism of Christ in Lisbon.[3]


  1. ^ Levinson:492
  2. ^ Jameson (December 29, 1866). "Lives of the Early Painters: Francesco Raibolini, Called Il Francia". The American Art Journal (1866–1867). 6 (10): 152–153. JSTOR 25306713. 
  3. ^ Gulbenkian Art Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.


  • Giorgio Vasari: Le vite dei più eccellenti architetti, pittori et scultori italiani, Florence 1568
  • George C. Williamson: Francesco Raibolini, called Francia", London 1901
  • Giuseppe Piazzi: Le Opere di Francesco Raibolini, detto il Francia, orefice e pittore. Azzoguidi, Bologna 1925
  • Emilio Negro, Nicosetta Roio: Francesco Francia e la sua scuola. Artioli Editore, Modena 1998, ISBN 8877920572
  • Sally Hickson: Giovanni Francesco Zaninello of Ferrara and the portrait of Isabella d'Este by Francesco Francia, Renaissance Studies Vol. 23 No. 3 (2009), S. 288–310

Further reading

  • Pope-Hennessy, John & Kanter, Laurence B. (1987). The Robert Lehman Collection I, Italian Paintings. New York, Princeton: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press. ISBN 0870994794.  (see index; plate 91)

External links

  • Media related to Francesco Francia at Wikimedia Commons
  • Catholic Encyclopedia entry
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