39. Battista Franco, called Semolei

Venice circa 1498/1510 – 1561 Venice

The Virgin and Child

Battista Franco was a talented draughtsman who devel­oped his own expressive graphic style, characterised by a fine, wandering line which appears uninterrupted. In the sheet belonging to the Fondation Custodia, the forms and figures emerge from a tangle of these volutes. Franco here accentuates the lines of the faces, emphasising the glance exchanged between the Virgin and her son; their gaze expresses the strength of their bond. Jesus is entirely wrapped in Mary’s arms: mother and child are as one. The warmth of the figures and the soft shapes testify to the Raphaelesque sensibility which appeared in the work of this Mannerist artist after the time he spent in Marche (1544-51).