Franceschini, Marc Antonio

, an historical painter, born at Bologna in 1648, was at first a disciple of G. Battista Galli, and from him entered the school of Carlo Cignani, who soon discovered the talents of his pupil, and not only formed his style, but made him his relation by macrying him to his niece, and he soon became his principal assistant. He was employed in embellishing many churches and convents in his native city, and in other parts of Italy; and particularly at Modena, he painted the grand hall of the duke’s palace so much to the satisfaction of that prince, that he wished to retain him at his court by an offer of a large pension, and such honours as were due to his merit. But Franceschini preferred his freedom and ease to the greatest acquisitions of wealth, and with polite respect refused the offer. At Genoa he painted, in the great council chamber, a design that at once manifested the fertility of his invention, and the grandeur of his ideas; for most of the memorable actions of the republic were there represented with a multitude of figures nobly designed, judiciously grouped and disposed, and correctly drawn. And in the Palazzo Monti at Bologna is a small gallery painted by him, of which the colouring is exceedingly lovely, though the figures appear to want roundness. Franceschini, though of the school of | Cignani, is original in the suavity of his colour, and the facility of his execution. He is fresh without being cold, and full without being crowded. As he was a machinist, and in Upper Italy what Cortona was in the Lower, symptoms of the mannerist appear in his works. He had the habit of painting his cartoons in chiaro-scuro, and, by fixing them to the spot where the fresco was to be executed, became a judge of their effect. He preserved the powers 6f his mind and pencil unaltered at a very advanced age; and when he was even seventy-eight years old, he designed and coloured his pictures with all that fire and spirit for which he had been distinguished in his best time. He died in 1729, at the age of eighty-one. 1

1

D’Argenville, vol. II, Pilkington, Rees’s Cyclopædia.