Giacomo Raibolini, called Giacomo Francia - The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth
The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth
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Giacomo Raibolini, called Giacomo Francia (Bologna 1486 - Bologna 1557)

Raibolini was trained by his father, Francesco Francia, in painting and goldsmithing. In 1517, the year of his father’s death, he and his brother, Giulio, assumed responsibility for the family business and together executed many altarpieces, identifiable by the initials (I I) of their latinized names (Iacobus and Iulius). Giacomo’s earliest known work is the Virgin in Glory with SS Peter, Mary Magdalene, Francis, Martha and Six Nuns (after 1515; Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale). In this painting, as in the SS Jerome, Margaret and Francis (1518; Madrid, Prado) and the Nativity (1519; Parma, S Giovanni Evangelista), both dated and signed by both brothers, there appear, in addition to the influence of their father, echoes of the monumental style of Raphael.

In the early 1520s Giacomo painted, again in collaboration with Giulio, the Crucifixion (Bologna, S Stefano) and God the Father with Angels (Bologna, S Petronio). During this period Giacomo probably went to Florence and perhaps to Rome. He was also influenced by contemporary Ferrarese painting, especially in the imaginary landscape backgrounds to several of his works from this period, such as St Michael with SS Dominic and Francis (Bologna, S Domenico). The Ferrarese influence is also evident in works from the same period executed with his brother. The fresco depicting the Nativity (Bologna, SS Vitale e Agricola) also dates from this period. With these works of the 1520s Giacomo reached his full artistic maturity.

Among Giacomo’s late works are the Nativity (1551; Bologna, S Cristina). In addition to large altarpieces, Giacomo also executed numerous smaller panels for private female convents. Compositionally, these are conventional works that reflect the religious requirements of the patrons.

Though a prolific artist, many of his works have been destroyed or lost and are known only from documentary sources.