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Franciabigio

Francesco di Cristofano, known as Franciabigio, was born on 30 January 1484, the son of a Milanese linen weaver living in Florence. The pseudonym ‘El Bigio’ derives from the grey habit he wore as a member of the Confraternity of St Job. Vasari says that he was briefly a pupil of Mariotto Albertinelli. By 1504, at the age of twenty, he was already an independent painter, paying dues to the painters’ Company of St Luke, and in November 1506 he was paid for painting a Pietà and some coats-of-arms beneath the high altar of the church of San Pancrazio near his family home. Not long afterwards he started sharing a workshop with Andrea del Sarto, first in the Piazzo del Grano, behind the Palazzo Vecchio, and later in the disused rooms of the Sapienza (‘House of Knowledge’) in the area between the convent of San Marco and the church of the Annunziata. The two artists collaborated on a number of commissions and appear to have influenced each other considerably.

Vasari says that Franciabigio always remained in Florence, but a visit to Rome in 1519/20 in the company of Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo has been postulated. He received several commissions from the Medici after their return from exile in 1513 (including decorations for the marriage in 1518 of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, and a fresco in the villa of Poggio a Caiano), but he also accepted work from humble patrons (Vasari mentions a fresco for a weaver and a shop sign for a perfumer). Vasari praises Franciabigio as the finest fresco painter of his day, but his best works are probably his portraits. These are most typically of young men, painted full-face and half-length against landscape backgrounds, with faces partly obscured by shadow and expressions of dreamy introspection. While a reasonable number of authenticated pictures exist (usually either mentioned by Vasari or signed with a monogram), there are also a substantial number of disputed attributions.

Franciabigio died of ‘a horrible sickness caused by a pestilential fever’ on 14 January 1525 and was buried ‘to the tears of his brothers’ in San Pancrazio. He is now somewhat neglected, obscured under Sarto’s shadow, while interest has shifted to his younger, Mannerist contemporaries Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino.


Arezzo. Galleria e Museo Medioevale e Moderno.
St Nicholas of Tolentino performing Miracles. Wood, 18 x 56.
On the left, the Virgin and St Augustine appear to the sick St Nicholas, telling him to eat bread soaked in Holy Water. On the right, the saint exorcises a possessed woman and releases a soul from purgatory. The panel is from a predella painted for an altar in the Chapel of St Nicholas in the church of Santo Spirito in Florence. One of two panels of Angels still in the church is dated 1515. Other parts of the predella are in Dublin, Oxford and a private collection in Rome. Given to the museum by the art historian Mario Salmi in 1962.

Berlin. Gemäldegalerie.
Portrait of a Young Man Writing. Wood, 78 x 61.
The thin-faced young man stands at a desk, quill in hand, pausing from writing in a ledger. In the background, a stormy sky is reddened by the setting sun. On the scrap of paper on the desk is Franciabigio’s monogram (consisting of the letters FRACR interlaced) and the date 24 October 1522. The picture, which must have been one of Franciabigio’s last works, is traditionally identified with the portrait of Matteo Sofferoni mentioned by Vasari. Sofferoni, a customs official, was an ‘extremely close friend’ of Franciabigio according to Vasari. He was the uncle of the painter Alessandro Allori. The portrait was in the possession of the Nerli family of Siena and Florence until 1828, when it was bought by the Berlin Museum (through Baron von Rumohr).

Birmingham (Alabama). Museum of Art.
Madonna and Child. Wood, 87 x 69.
Another version, dated 1509, at Rome (Palazzo Corsini) is probably from the same cartoon but reverses the composition. The Birmingham picture is probably later. Acquired by Samuel H. Kress in 1937 from the dealer Contini Bonacossi. Allocated to the museum in 1960.

Bologna. Galleria Nazionale.
Madonna and Child. Wood, 90 x 70.
This picture may date from the last few years of Franciabigio’s brief career. It was acquired with the Bargellini collection in about 1860, and was ascribed to Pontormo until 1892, when Giovanni Morelli (Italian Painters) recognised Franciabigio’s hand.

Detroit. Institute of Fine Arts.
Portrait of a Young Man (no. 89.7). Wood, 39 x 30.
Seen from the side, he turns his head to look at the viewer, while raising his right hand with a pointing gesture. This kind of 'over-the-shoulder' composition seems to have originated in Venice with Giorgione and Titian. Signed with Franciabigio’s monogram. There may originally have been a date (1513?). Acquired in Florence from the Marchese Caruana by the American newspaper publisher James E. Scripps, who gave it to the Detroit Institute in 1889 (as a work of Masaccio). The attribution to Franciabigio was made by Berenson in his 1932 Lists. On the back of the panel is an unidentified coat-of-arms in green monochrome.
Portrait of a Young Man (no. 28.133). Wood, 58 x 50.
His right arm is raised, and he turns his head to look over his shoulder at some object to his right. (A suggestion that he could be an artist, working at his easel, has not had much support.) From the Palazzo Panciatichi at Florence, where it was attributed to Andrea del Sarto, and later in the Benson collection in London. Presented to the Detroit Institute in 1928 by the art dealer Joseph Duveen. The attribution to Franciabigio was published in 1907 (by Lionel Cust in Les Arts). It was endorsed by Berenson (1909-63 Lists), but doubted by Susan McKillop in her 1974 monograph. Tentative alternative attributions have been made to Tommaso di Stefano (McKillop) and to Francesco Bacchiacca (Roberto Longhi).  

Dresden. Gemäldegalerie.
Story of Bathsheba. Wood, 85 x 172.
Franciabigio’s best-known late work. The narrative runs from left to right: David watches Bathsheba from the roof of his palace as she bathes with her maids (bottom left); he makes her husband Uriah the Hittite drunk at the feast (under the loggia in the centre background); and he dispatches him with a letter to the front line (right). Franciabigio’s monogram is on the jug held by the woman in the bath on the right, the date 1523 appears above the central columns at the side of the bath, and the Medici coat-of-arms appears on the back wall. According to Vasari, this is one of four panels painted for the antechamber of the banker Giovanni Maria Benintendi’s palazzo on Via Larga (now Via Cavour), which was decorated by Andrea di Cosimo Feltrini. Two of the other panels are by Bacchiacca (the Legend of the King’s Son also at Dresden and the Beheading of the Baptist at Berlin); the fourth (the Adoration of the Magi) is by Pontormo and is in the Pitti Palace. The famous St John the Baptist by Andrea del Sarto in the Pitti Palace was also commissioned by Benintendi, and probably also formed part of the same decorative scheme. Along with two paintings by Bacchiacca, the Story of Bathsheba was purchased by August III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1750 from the Marchese Suares of Florence for 1,000 zecchini. A study in black chalk for Bathsheba bathing is preserved in the Uffizi. 

Dublin. National Gallery of Ireland.
Canonisation of St Nicholas of Tolentino. Wood, 18 x 26.
Nicholas of Tolentino was canonised by Eugene IV in 1446. He had been dead for more than a century, but the panel represents the event as having taken place immediately after his death. In the presence of the Pope and cardinals, an official of the Curia is shown reading the decree of canonisation over the saint's body laid out on a catafalque. Two Augustinian friars kneel by the body, while St Augustine himself stands watching on the right. The right half of a predella panel; the left half, showing St Nicholas healing the Sick, is in Oxford. Another panel from the predella is in Arezzo. The predella belonged to an altar in Santo Spirito in Florence. The Dublin panel was bought in 1954 from a Mrs Jeffares.

Florence. Uffizi.
Madonna Enthroned with St John the Baptist and Job. 
Wood, 209 x 172.
A sombre picture, which has darkened considerably. The figures are represented against a gloomy background of a dark Brunelleschian chapel. Signed with Franciabigio's mongram (lower right) and dated 1516. Painted for the Compagnia di San Giobbe. Franciabigio was himself a member of this confraternity, whose chapel was behind the church of Santissima Annunziata on the corner of Via della Crocetta (now Via Laura). According to Vasari, the head of the Baptist is a self-portrait. The picture was removed to the Accademia in 1784 and transferred to the Uffizi in 1803. Exhibited at the Pitti Palace after the Second World War, deposited with the San Salvi Museum in 1981, and returned to the Uffizi in 2012.
Madonna del Pozzo’. Wood, 106 x 81.
This well known, highly Raphaelesque painting takes its name from the well in the left background (a detail perhaps borrowed from Dürer’s Nativity engraving of 1504). It entered the Uffizi in 1666 from the collection of Cardinal Carlo de’ Medici, son of Ferdinando I. It was then ascribed to Franciabigio, but later given to Raphael himself. It was restored to Franciabigio by Crowe and Cavalcaselle (1866), who identified it as the ‘picture of Our Lady with the Child grasping her neck … where the boy St John plays with Jesus’ described by Vasari in a chapel in the Florentine church (long demolished) of San Pier Maggiore. It has been dated around 1517-18. In spite of Vasari’s apparent attribution to Franciabigio, the picture has been re-ascribed (by Sricchia Santoro in Prospettiva, 1993) to Jacopo dell’Indaco (a little-known painter, born in 1476, who left Italy for Spain around 1520). It is still exhibited under Franciabigio’s name in the Tribuna of the Uffizi. There is a variant, with an altered background, in the Palazzo Venezia, Rome.
Portrait of a Young Man with a Glove. Wood, 58 x 45.
Signed (twice) on the parapet with Franciabigio’s monogram and dated 1514. Nothing is known of the early history of this portrait, which is first recorded at the Pitti Palace in 1834 and was transferred to the Uffizi in 1919. It is very similar in composition to the Portrait of a Knight of Malta, also of 1514, in the National Gallery, London.
Madonna and Child with the Infant St John (no. 2178). Wood, 86 in dia. 
This tondo, which entered the Medici collections in 1779 with an attribution to Pietro Perugino, has been catalogued by the Uffizi since 1890 as a work of Franciabigio (or his school). The attribution to Franciabigio was endorsed by Berenson (1932-63 Lists) and by Susan McKillop, who proposed an exceptionally early dating ('around 1506') in her 1974 monograph. After some years at the Pitti Palace, the picture was returned in 1976 to the Uffizi, where it was placed in storage. Another tondo of the Madonna and Child and the Infant St John (Uffizi no. 517) is presently on deposit at the Cenacolo di Fuligno. The two pictures have sometimes been confused with each other. 

Florence. Pitti.
Calumny of Apelles. Wood, 37 x 48.
Alberti’s Della Pittura gives an account of Apelles’ painting as it is described by Lucian in one of his dialogues. Franciabigio treats the subject very differently from Botticelli in his famous picture in the Uffizi. Calumny, holding a lighted torch and dragging a victim by the hair, is brought by Deceit, Treachery and Envy before King Midas, who is enthroned between Suspicion and Ignorance. King Midas, with ass’s ears, appears again on the right, questioning Truth (a nude woman with a mirror). Signed with the monogram (on the base of the left column), and inscribed with the (apparently political) message: ‘Shut your ears to these words, you that govern the people. So escape my hand paint Apelles’. This small panel may date from about 1513-15. It is first recorded in 1588 in an inventory of the pictures in the Medici Villa Magia.

Florence. Accademia.
Holy Family with the Infant St John. Wood, 94 in dia.
First recorded without attribution in a Uffizi inventory of 1704. There were attributions to Ridolfo Ghirlandaio and Giuliano Bugiardini in the second half of the nineteenth century. But the attribution to Franciabigio (first published in Giovanni Morelli’s Italian Painters (1892)) gradually won acceptance. The composition was clearly influenced by Raphael’s Florentine Holy Families, such as the Louvre La Belle Jardinière. Dated very early (1507-8) by McKillop in her 1974 monograph. Transferred from the Uffizi to the Accademia in 1951.

Florence. Palazzo Davanzatti.
Temple of Hercules. Wood, 72 x 152.
Hercules stands on a pedestal under a portico, with groups of soldiers and scholars. Some of the figures and landscape details seem to have been taken from Dürer’s engraving of Five Warriors and a Turk. Probably a spalliera or cassone panel. First recorded in the 1588 inventory of paintings at the Medici Villa Magia. All old inventories give the painting to Andrea del Sarto. The attribution to Franciabigio was made by Crowe and Cavalcaselle (1866). It remained largely unchallenged for many years, but in 1953 Roberto Longhi suggested the name of Pier Francesco di Jacopo Foschi, a minor follower of Andrea del Sarto. Sricchia Santoro endorsed the Foschi attribution in 1963 (in a long article on Franciabigio in the Italian journal Paragone), but changed her mind in 1993 (in Prospettiva) in favour of Jacopo dell’Indaco, to whom she also ascribed the well-known Madonna del Pozzo in the Uffizi. Formerly at the Uffizi, the Temple of Hercules was transferred to the Palazzo Davanzatti in 1956.
Icarus. Wood, 31 x 25.
Icarus stands on a mound between Daedalus (his inventor father, who made wings of wax and feathers) and Pasiphaë (King Minos’s wife, who rescued Daedalus and Icarus from the Labyrinth). This small panel is damaged by two horizontal cracks and the colour appears very pale. Ascribed, as a very early work, to either Franciabigio or to Andrea del Sarto. Formerly in the Cinelli collection at the Palazzo dell’Antella, it was acquired by the Italian State (through the Ufficio Esportazione) in 1951 (as a work of Granacci) and has been exhibited at the Davanzatti since 1956.

Florence. Chiostro dello Scalzo.
Baptist leaving his Parents; Meeting of Christ and the Baptist. Frescoes, each about 195 x 200.
Ten of the twelve monochrome scenes from the Life of St John the Baptist were painted by Andrea del Sarto between about 1509 and 1526. The other two scenes were painted by Franciabigio when Sarto was in France. They represent apocryphal episodes from the early life of the Baptist. They are fourth and fifth in the series and occupy the two spaces on the east wall. According to Vasari, Franciabigio was required to paint his scenes in Sarto’s manner. He was paid the same rate as Sarto – 42 lire for each scene. First payment was made on 27 July 1518 and final payment on 18 March 1519. The frescoes have been damaged by rising damp and rainwater, and the lower parts are largely obliterated. The entire series was detached between 1963 and 1968 and mounted on masonite supports.

Florence. Museo di San Salvi.
Noli Me Tangere’. Detached fresco, 162 x 145.
In the left distance, the Resurrection is announced by an angel to the women who approach the sepulchre. According to Vasari, this ‘most beautiful’ fresco was painted for ‘Arcangelo, the cloth weaver, at Porta Rossa, at the top of the tower serving as a terrace’. It is the last work of Franciabigio mentioned by Vasari, and probably dates from 1523-24. The composition is related to that of Andrea del Sarto’s early Noli me Tangere, painted in about 1509 for the church of San Gallo and also now at San Salvi. Franciabigio’s fresco was detached in about 1890, when the house (La Torre dei Ciacchi) was demolished during the redevelopment of the area around the Mercato Vecchio. It was acquired by the Florentine Galleries in 1894. It was exhibited in the San Marco Museum from 1907 until 1930, and was then on loan to the Horne Museum until 1981, when it was transferred to San Salvi.
Adoration of Shepherds. Detached fresco, 200 x160.
Composed as an altarpiece, with an inset image of the Pietá at the bottom. This damaged fresco – cracked, restored and discoloured – comes from the chapel of the Villa Capponi, near Santa Margherita a Montici on the outskirts of Florence. The villa was owned in the early sixteenth century by a Ser Bartolommeo di Gabbriello Leoni and his son Ser Francesco, and the painted outer frame of the fresco (now lost) bore the Leoni family’s coats-of-arms and the date 1510. The fresco was detached around 1930 and moved to the San Marco Museum. It is not signed, documented or mentioned by Vasari; but it has been attributed to Franciabigio since at least the 1830s and is the earliest dated work unanimously accepted as his.

Florence. Cenacolo di Fuligno. On deposit from the Uffizi (no. 517).
Madonna and Child with the Infant St John. 
Wood, 58 in dia.
This tondo entered the Medici collections in 1675 with the legacy of Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici. It has been variously attributed to Franciabigio {as an early work), to Franciabigio's school, and to Jacopo dell'Indaco.  

Florence. Santissima Annunziata. Entrance Court (right).
Sposalizio’. Fresco, 395 x 321.
In the background is a splendid Renaissance building with a loggia (perhaps intended as an idealised representation of the Annunziata itself), with bas-reliefs representing the Sacrifice of Isaac, Adam and Eve and Moses receiving the Laws. The elderly Joseph is about to be given a blow on the back by the best man standing behind; an unsuccessful suitor wrings his hands on the left; and another breaks the rod that did not flower over his knee. The Sposalizio is one of a cycle of scenes from the Life of the Virgin; the others are by Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo and Rosso. Franciabigio’s masterpiece in fresco, it was painted in 1513 (the last of four recorded payments being made on 20 September). According to Vasari, Franciabigio was so angry with the Servite brothers for prematurely uncovering the fresco that he smashed some of the heads, including the Virgin’s, with a hammer. A document of 16 June 1515 ordering Franciabigio to do the necessary repairs was apparently ignored, and the damage is clearly visible to this day. The fresco has also suffered considerably from exposure and damp.
Franciabigio (who was related to the sacristan according to Vasari) had carried out earlier, more modest commissions for the church. In 1509, he collaborated with Andrea di Cosimo Feltrini and Andrea del Sarto on the decoration of a curtain (now lost) to cover the double-sided high altarpiece painted a few years earlier by Filippino Lippi and Perugino. In May 1511, he painted some lamps (also lost) in the entrance court.

Florence. Convitto della Calza (6 Piazza della Calza).
Last Supper. Fresco, 280 x 720.
This fine, but damaged fresco is in the refectory of the former convent, San Giovanni della Calza, of the Suore Gerosolimitane (Nuns of the Order of St John of Jerusalem). The patron appears to have been the abbess Antonia de’ Medici, whose name is inscribed on the ground between the second and third apostles. The Medici coat-of-arms appears, along with the Cross of the Order of the Knights of St John, on several of the jugs, while Franciabigio’s monogram and the date 1514 are inscribed on the table leg beneath St Bartholomew. The city walls adjacent to the convent are viewed through the painted open widows. The convent (which passed to Gesuati friars after the Siege of Florence and was later used as a children’s hospital, hostel and seminary) was sold in 1938 but reacquired by the church in 1987 and refurbished as a hospitality and conference centre. The fresco, which had been badly affected by damp, was restored in 2000.

Florence. Santo Spirito (3rd chapel on right).
Angels. Two panels, 118 x 53.
The angel on the left holds the orb of the sun and a lily (emblems of St Nicholas of Tolentino) and the angel on the right holds a book with an inscription from Hosea (used for the Mass on St Nicholas’s feast day). The two panels flank a polychrome wooden statue of St Nicholas, ascribed by Vasari to Nanni Ungheri (Giovanni d’Alesso d’Antonio) after a terracotta model by Jacopo Sansovino. According to Vasari, the altar also included an Annunciation (now at Warsaw) and a predella (parts of which are now at Arezzo, Dublin, Oxford, and a Roman private collection). Previously very darkened, the two panels were restored in 1996, when the date 1515 was revealed on one.

London. National Gallery.
Portrait of a Knight of Malta. Wood, 60 x 45.
One of Franciabigio’s finest portraits. The young man wears on his breast the Maltese Cross of the Order of St John. Signed (twice) on the parapet with Franciabigio’s monogram, with an inscription (in Provençal?) meaning ‘slowly forgets he who loves well’. On the letter (otherwise illegible) is the date 1514 (or 1516). In 1514 Franciabigio painted the fresco of the Last Supper for the refectory of the Knights of Malta’s convent of San Giovanni della Calza. Formerly in the collection of W. Fuller Maitland of London, where it was described as a portrait of Giulio de’ Medici by Raphael. Bought in 1878 for £500.

London. Hampton Court.
Portrait of Jacopo Cennini (?). Wood, 65 x 49.
This portrait of a middle-aged man, writing in a ledger with a bunch of keys hanging from his wrist, has been linked with a portrait mentioned by Vasari of the fattore (estate manger) of Pier Francesco de’ Medici at the Palazzo San Girolamo at Fiesole. Pier Francesco’s fattore is known to have been a certain Jacopo Cennini. Signed with Franciabigio’s monogram on the blade of the pruning hook hanging on the wall and dated 1523 on the ledger. The Medici arms are on the parapet. The laurel branch in the lower right-hand corner may allude to the death of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, in 1519. From Charles I’s collection, where it was attributed to Andrea del Sarto.

New York. Metropoiitan Museum.
Head of the Madonna. Wood, 38 x 25.
This beautiful little panel is a fragment of a much larger composition of the Virgin and Child (and perhaps the infant St John). The Virgin's lace collar appears to be a later addition. The attribution has fluctuated between Franciabigio and the young Andrea del Sarto. In either case, the panel is generally dated around 1510 or a year or two earlier, when the relationship between the two painters was very close. Acquired, as a work of Franciabigio, in 1924 by the New York art connoisseur and philanthropist MIchael Friedsam, and bequeathed by him to the Metropolian Museum in 1931. The panel was reattributed to Andrea del Sarto in the 1960s, and was subsequently identified (in Zeri's 1971 museum catalogue) as a fragment of a picture by Sarto that was engraved by Cornelius Bloemaert in 1631, when it was in the collection of the Marchese VIncenzo Giustiniani at Rome. The identification with the Giustiniani picture has been abandoned since the discovery, in 1999, of what is thought to be Sarto's lost original in the museum at Perm (Russia). The Metropolian Museum has reinstated the old Franciabigio attribution.                    

New York. Hunter College (Sara Delano Roosevelt Memorial House).
Self-Portrait. Wood, 58 x 44.
The sitter holds a palette and brushes, and looks directly at the spectator. He bears a likeness to the St John the Baptist in Franciabigio’s St Job Altarpiece (San Salvi Museum), whom Vasari identifies as a self-portrait. Acquired by Samuel H. Kress from Contini Bonacossi in 1936, and exhibited at Hunter College since 1943. The head and hands are somewhat abraded.

Oxford. Ashmolean Museum.
St Nicholas of Tolentino healing the Sick. Wood, 19 x 24.
Nicholas of Tolentino, a thirteenth-century Augustinian friar, had a reputation as a preacher, confessor and visitor of the destitute, sick and dying. The panel represents several of his miracles in a single scene: he heals a cripple; he raises a woman from the dead; and he brings a baby that had died on the way to the baptistery back to life so that it could be baptised. Badly rubbed, retouched, and damaged at the edges. Part of a predella painted for an altar in the church of Santo Spirito at Florence. Other parts are in Arezzo, Dublin, and a private collection in Rome. It was acquired, along with the Dublin panel, by the Rev. John Sanford in Florence in the 1830s. It was given to the Ashmolean by the legatees of Mr T. W. Jackson, an Oxford academic and collector, in 1915.

Paris. Louvre.
Portrait of a Young Man. Wood, 76 x 50.
The sombre young man is dressed in black and leans thoughtfully with his left elbow on a ledge. His pose is similar to Raphael’s Agnolo Doni (Pitti). The dark border is not original (the panel originally measured 60 x 45). Bequeathed to Louis XIV by Cardinal Richelieu in 1642. It was given to Raphael in Le Brun’s inventory of 1683 and retained this attribution until well into the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were attributions to Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, Albertinelli and Bugiardini, but the attribution to Franciabigio (first proposed by Crowe and Cavalcaselle) is now generally accepted. It is considered one of his earliest portraits (dated about 1509 by Freedberg and about 1512 by Shearman). Extensively restored in 1879, when flaking parts were replaced.

Philadelphia. Museum of Art (J. G. Johnson Collection).
Episode from the Legend of St Julian. Wood, 26 x 19.
St Julian the Hospitaller meets his wife after killing his parents. A fragment of a predella panel. Of completely unknown provenance, and first catalogued (with an attribution to Francesco Granacci) only in 1966.

Poggio a Caiano (near Florence). Medici Villa.
Triumph of Cicero. Fresco, 500 x 565.
According to Vasari, Franciabigio was given the commission to decorate the Salone of the villa, with instructions to divide the work equally with Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo. The programme was drawn up at Leo X’s court by the historian Paolo Giovio. Each artist was paid 30 crowns a month. The work probably started in 1519 or 1520 and was cut short by Leo X’s death in December 1521. The subject of Franciabigio’s fresco – Cicero brought back to Rome in triumph after his banishment – probably alludes to Cosimo the Elder’s return to Florence after his Venetian exile. The fresco was altered sixty years later by Alessandro Allori, who extended it on the right (adding the statue of the river god, the rostrate column and the four figures below it). With flaking, Franciabigio’s original border now shows through Allori’s Egyptian obelisk. In collaboration with the stuccoist Andrea Feltrini, Franciabigio also decorated the gilded ceiling with white ornamental reliefs and Medici arms.

Princeton. University Art Museum.
Portrait of a Jeweller. Wood, 70 x 52.
Signed with Franciabigio’s monogram and dated 1516 on the parapet. The portly middle-aged man tests the quality of a gold ring by rubbing it on a black touchstone; three other rings are on the parapet. Two tiny figures coming down the winding path on the right are now almost effaced. An (unreliable) nineteenth-century tradition identifies the sitter as the Milanese goldsmith Cristoforo Foppa, called Casadosso, who worked for the Papacy in Rome. A more recent suggestion is that he could be the Florentine goldsmith Michelangelo di Viviano, who was jeweller to the Medici and father of the sculptor Baccio Bandinelli. The hulking sitter bears a distinct resemblance to Lorenzo Lotto’s Jeweller (formerly Getty Musem, Los Angeles), though this could be mere coincidence. The atmospheric (though somewhat abraded) portrait is first recorded in 1848 in England. By 1857, it had entered Lord Yarborough’s collection in London. Sold in 1929 (as a portrait of Caradosso by Raphael), it was acquired by Viscount Sulley and then a Mr Rosenberg of Simonstone, near Burnley. Bought by the Princeton museum in 1983 from the Piero Corsini Gallery, New York.

Rome. Galleria Borghese.
Madonna and Child with the Infant St John. Wood, 87 in dia.
This tondo is first recorded, with an attribution to the school of Raphael, in a Borghese inventory of 1833. It was given to Giuliano Bugiardini in Adolfo Venturi’s 1893 catalogue, but re-attributed to Franciabigio, with a dating of about 1518, by Roberto Longhi in 1928. Dated rather later – about 1524 – by McKillop (1974).
Marriage of St Catherine. Wood, 79 x 51.
The picture is thinly painted and may be unfinished in parts (eg the Virgin’s hand). Like the preceding picture, it was ascribed to Raphael’s school in the 1833 inventory, later given to Bugiardini, and attributed to Franciabigio by Longhi (1928).

Rome. Galleria Nazionale (Palazzo Corsini).
Madonna and Child (no. 580). Wood, 86 x 66.
Somewhat damaged and restored (eg. in the sky and in the faces of both the Madonna and the Child). Dated 1509 on the edge of the Virgin’s book, and therefore painted when Franciabigio and Andrea del Sarto were sharing a studio. Described as a work of Andrea del Sarto in eighteenth-century guides to the Corsini collection. After attributions to Bugiardini (Crowe and Cavalcaselle) and Franciabigio (Venturi), Roberto Longhi influentially defended the traditional attribution to Sarto in 1927; but the attribution to Franciabigio has had most support (eg. from both Freedberg and Shearman in their 1960s monographs on Sarto). There is another, probably later version (in which the composition is reversed) at Birmingham (Alabama).

Rovezzano (5 km from Florence). Piazzetta da Rovezzano.
Frescoed tabernacle: Crucifixion with Saints. Centre: 188 x 88; sides: 135 x 34.
This tabernacle, mentioned by Vasari, is still in its original location. The fresco is ruined by exposure and much restored. Little of the original now remains.

St Petersburg. Hermitage.
Madonna and Child. Wood, 93 x 68.
The Child holds up a bird in his left hand. This attractive picture appears to have received scant attention. It entered the Hermitage in 1920 as the work of an unknown sixteenth-century Italian artist, and was attributed to Franciabigio in 1941 (by Shcherbachova) with a dating of about 1514. Susan Regan McKillop (1974) thought it might be an early work of Domenico Puligo, but she had not seen the original.

San Casciano in Val di Pesa (18 km from Florence). Santo Stefano a Campoli.
Madonna and Child with Saints. Wood, 210 x 175.
The Virgin is enthroned under a baldacchino between Saints Stephen and Bartholomew (standing) and Francis and Anthony Abbot (kneeling). Probably originally over the high altar of the provincial church; now on the first altar on the right of the nave. Previously described as ‘close to Giuliano Bugiardini’, it was attributed to Franciabigio only in 1993 (by Sricchia Santoro in Prospettiva). Considered a very early work – close in style to the fresco of the Adoration of the Shepherds of 1510 (now in San Salvi) and related in composition to altarpieces by Franciabigio’s master Mariotto Albertinelli (including one, now in the Accademia, from the monastery of San Giuliano, and another in the church at Rignano sull’Arno).

Tulsa. Philbrook Art Center.
Portrait of a Young Man. Wood, 79 x 61.
The picture is only recorded since 1925. Formerly in the Barberini collection at Rome, it was acquired by Samuel H. Kress in 1932 (through Contini Bonacossi) and has been at Tulsa since 1953. It has been attributed to Franciabigio as a mature work of around 1520. An alternative candidate, proposed by Berenson in his 1963 Lists, is Tommaso di Stefano Lunetti, a pupil of Lorenzo di Credi. (There are similarities with a portrait, signed by Tommaso and dated 1521, in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.) The Franciabigio attribution has been retained by the Kress Foundation, but appears to have been little discussed.

Turin. Galleria Sabauda.
Annunciation. Wood, 170 x 179.
Very damaged, allegedly by damp and candle burns; the removal in 1939 of nineteenth-century repaint exposed many paint losses. Painted for the altar of the Corbizzi family in the church of San Pier Maggiore at Florence. Vasari admired the ‘ingenious perspective’ of the blocks of houses in the background. An early work – the general composition is related to Andrea del Sarto’s damaged fresco of the Annunciation (now at San Salvi), while the God the Father and to a lesser extent the Angel Gabriel resemble those in Albertinelli’s Annunciation of 1510 (now in the Accademia). When San Pier Maggiore was demolished in 1783, the altarpiece was retained by the Corbizzi family. It was sold to the Turin museum in about 1852.

Vienna. Kunsthistorishes Museum.
Holy Family. Wood, 108 x 87.
First recorded in 1638, when it passed from the Lord Chamberlain of London to Charles I in exchange for a watercolour portrait of the Queen. It is one of many pictures acquired by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in London from Charles I’s dispersed collection. Long ascribed to Andrea del Sarto, and first recognised as a work of Franciabigio by Claude Phillips in 1896. It may date from 1515-20.

Vienna. Liechtenstein Museum.
Madonna and Infant St John. Wood, 121 x 90.
The Christ Child holds a banderole with the prophetic inscription ECCE AG[NUS DEI]. The chasm in the ground beneath his feet probably alludes to the rock tomb in which the dead Christ was laid. The pose of the pointing St John is very like that in Raphael’s Madonna dell’Impannata (Pitti). St Joseph appears as a tiny figure walking away in the left distance towards a fortified hill town. Although Franciabigio’s monogram appears on the hem of the Madonna’s robe, this monumental Holy Family was ascribed to Bugiardini until 1909, when Berenson listed it under Franciabigio in the third edition of his Florentine Painters. It is a late work, probably dating from the early 1520s. Acquired in Vienna by Prince Alois I von Liechtenstein in 1790 from the painter Johann Adam Braun.
Portrait of a Man. Canvas, 55 x 40.
The sitter (thirtyish perhaps, dark stubble beard, broad hat, black tunic and frilled white shirt) gazes at the viewer with thoughtful, slightly abstracted expression. This carefully painted portrait is dated 1517 on the cartellino on the left of the green background. It is unusual for an early sixteenth-century Florentine portrait to be painted on canvas rather than panel. It is also unusual for a portrait by Franciabigio to have a plain rather than a landscape background. Acquired by Prince Johann II von Liechtenstein in 1879 from the estate of the Marchese Gino Capponi of Florence, and published as a work of Franciabigio in Wilhelm von Bode’s 1896 gallery catalogue. The attribution has occasionally been disputed (eg. McKillop, in her 1974 monograph, suggested that the artist might be either a Northern European working in Florence or a Florentine painter, such as Tommaso di Stefano, influenced by Northern European portraiture). After fifty years in Vaduz, the Liechtenstein pictures were returned to the Garden Palace in Vienna in 2004.

Warsaw. National Museum.
Archangel Gabriel; Annunciate Virgin.
Wood, 51 in dia.
Identified with the 'Annunciation in two tondi' that Vasari says formed part of the altarpiece of the chapel of San NIcola in the church of Santo Spirito at Florence. Two side panels of Angels (one dated 1515) are still in the church, while parts of the predella are preserved at Arezzo, Dublin and Oxford.