Battista Franco

A Boy with Upraised Hands: Study for the Young Spectator in the 'Martyrdom of St Lawrence' (late 1550s)

About this artwork

Franco made this study of a boy in preparation for a print showing the Martyrdom of St Lawrence. The only known impression of the print is in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Here, Franco used black chalk to achieve the soft modelling of the boy’s face and to articulate the subtle interchange of light and shade on the folds of his tunic. This is consistent with other drawings that he produced in Venice towards the end of his career.

  • title: A Boy with Upraised Hands: Study for the Young Spectator in the 'Martyrdom of St Lawrence'
  • accession number: D 2893
  • artist: Battista FrancoItalian (about 1510 - 1561)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Martyrdom
  • medium: Chalk on paper
  • date created: late 1550s
  • measurements: 17.40 x 20.50 cm
  • credit line: William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881

Battista Franco

Battista Franco

Although born in Venice, Franco was in Rome by the time he was twenty. There he made drawings after the Antique treasures that filled the city, but he also fell under the spell of Michelangelo and made numerous drawings after the master’s work. In addition to being a fine draughtsman, Franco was also an accomplished painter and printmaker. He often produced prints of his own designs using either etching or engraving, or sometimes a combination of both. Much of his career was spent in Rome and Urbino, but around 1552 he returned to Venice where he lived for the last decade of his life. He is sometimes known by the nickname ‘Il Semolei’.