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Francis DeStefano

A very informative post. I believe that Francia was admired by Anna Jameson, the Englishwoman whose books on religious art were much admired in the 19th century. Writing before Berenson, Jameson almost singlehandedly kept many of these great religious works from oblivion.


Art History Today

Hi Frank,

You've read my mind because I was going to stick in a quote from Jameson. I was looking at the book on religious art she co-wrote with Lady Eastlake. I think they talk about the head of Christ in Francia.


Interesting post on admiration for Francia in the Victorian era.
Personally, I prefer other paintings by Perugino for comparison with Budapest Madonna by Francia. Perhaps the National Gallery's painting is not entirely autograph. However, Francia admires other earlier works by Perugino as, for example, the altarpiece for San Giovanni in Monte in Bologna (now Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale: http://goo.gl/owmfn). Or Perugino's triptych for the Certosa di Pavia, now at the National Gallery (http://goo.gl/di6EV or http://goo.gl/1IwA6).
The admiration for Francia is also a phenomenon that involves, at the same time, other painters "forgotten" as Lorenzo Costa, Garofalo, Ortolano, etc.

Finally, nice quote from the great Berenson.
You remember correctly that it is taken from a book that incorporates material from earlier published work.
Quoted words already appear in the first edition of the "North Italian Painters of the Renaissance". The book was published in 1907, only a few years after the death of Queen Victoria ...
(See: http://www.archive.org/stream/northitalianpain00bereuoft pages 69-70)

See you soon,

P.S. I agree with your opinion on the book by Haskell: the best book ever written on taste and collecting.


Good post. I like to read your posts. well written. thank you.

Art History Today

Sergio, Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for the links and comments. Your Perugino choices are really good; I'm not as up on his work as I should be.

Polath, Thanks for the compliment. I enjoy writing them!


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H Niyazi

I'm not sure how I missed this post!

In any event - it's good to see Francia getting a mention. As you know, his name popped up in recent discussion about the veracity of the claim that he exchanged self portraits with Raphael - something based on a supposed letter by Raphael that is no longer extant and described only by two Bolognese art historians whose bias towards displaying Francia in as great a light as possible must be questioned.

Im wondering if there is a definitive catalogue on Francia, particularly with sound provenance data on known works - but that's probably wishful thinking!

Kind Regards

David Packwood


I would doubt a definite catalogue exists, but there's a lot on him in Crowe and Cavaselles Italian Painters. Download it at the Archive. I think they work through the oeuvre-as it was known in the mid-19th century. And of course Berenson mentions him, though only in a limited capacity.



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