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Franco, Battista

Venice, h. 1510 - Venice, 1561

Born in Venice, Franco moved to Rome around the age of twenty, where he began incessantly to copy the works of Michelangelo (1475-1564). The influence of the older artist, which was to extend throughout his career, was such that Franco made few original drawings around this time. Nevertheless, he subsequently prepared many studies of his own invention, around 100 of which can be accounted for. Franco was also a competent printmaker. He received his first commission as a painter in 1536, when he executed a series of frescoes on the Ponte S. Angelo to celebrate the arrival of Emperor Charles V in Rome. The following year, Franco was in Florence, where he received patronage from Cosimo de' Medici. But his success in painting was questionable because of his over-dependence on Michelangelo and eschewal of painting from life. He later returned to Venice, where he executed various altarpieces, many of which are now lost, as well as several important projects for the decoration of ceilings (Turner, N.: From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Art Services International-Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 90).

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