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Franceschini, Baldassare

FRANCESCHINI, BALDASSARE (1611-1689), Italian painter of the Tuscan school, named, from Volterra the place of his birth, Il Volterrano, or (to distinguish him from Ricciarelli) Il Volterrano Giuniore, was the son of a sculptor in alabaster. At a very early age he learned from Cosimo Daddi some of the elements of art, and he started as an assistant to his father. This employment being evidently below the level of his talents, the marquises Inghirami placed him, at the age of sixteen, under the Florentine painter Matteo Rosselli. In the ensuing year he had advanced sufficiently to execute in Volterra some frescoes, skilful in foreshortening, followed by other frescoes for the Medici family in the Valle della Petraia. In 1652 the marchese Filippo Niccolini, being minded to employ Franceschini upon the frescoes for the cupola and back-wall of his chapel in S. Croce, Florence, despatched him to various parts of Italy to perfect his style. The painter, in a tour which lasted some months, took more especially to the qualities distinctive of the schools of Parma and Bologna, and in a measure to those of Pietro da Cortona, whose acquaintance he made in Rome. He then undertook the paintings commissioned by Niccolini, which constitute his most noted performance, the design being good, and the method masterly. Franceschini ranks higher in fresco than in oil painting. His works in the latter mode were not unfrequently left unfinished, although numerous specimens remain, the cabinet pictures being marked by much sprightliness of invention. Among his best oil paintings of large scale is the "St John the Evangelist" in the church of S. Chiara at Volterra. One of his latest works was the fresco of the cupola of the Annunziata, Florence, which occupied him for two years towards 1683, a production of much labour and energy. Franceschini died of apoplexy at Volterra on the 6th of January 1689. He is reckoned among those painters of the decline of art to whom the general name of "machinist" is applied.

He is not to be confounded with another Franceschini of the same class, and of rather later date, also of no small eminence in his time - the Cavaliere Marcantonio Franceschini (1648-1729), who was a Bolognese.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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