About this artwork

This drawing is a preparatory study for a painting of the Baptism of Christ that was commissioned for the Venetian church of San Francesco della Vigna, and is still in its original location. The picture was ordered by the wealthy Venetian nobleman Daniele Barbaro around 1552-4. For Franco, this commission was immensely important as he had just returned to his native city from Rome and needed to establish his reputation as an artist. Here, the influence of Franco’s studies of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes is evident in the monumental figure of God the Father. Franco’s combined use of three coloured chalks to form one figure is unique among his surviving drawings.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    God the Father
  • date created:
    1552 - 1554
  • materials:
    Black and red chalk, heightened with white, on blue paper
  • measurements:
    29.20 x 24.30 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    David Laing Bequest to the Royal Scottish Academy transferred 1910
  • accession number:
    D 1590
  • gallery:
    View by Appointment
  • depicted:
    God
  • subject:
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Battista Franco

Battista Franco