Design for the Decoration of the Semi-Dome of a Church Apse

Workshop of Battista Franco Italian

Not on view

This drawing is thought to have been intended for the decoration of the apse of the Cathedral of Urbino (destroyed in the 1789 earthquake), a project that was either lost with the collapse of the building or not executed. Probably born in Venice, Battista Franco was commissioned to paint the Assumption of the Virgin on the dome of the Cathedral in 1545-46, and it is also known that in 1551 he was working in the Chapel of the Sacraments, but documents suggest the artist and the duke of Urbino disagreed on the projects. The design was to be executed in fresco and stucco. Depicted here are the vault, with narrative compositions on the life of Christ within each caisson, and a frieze with garlands and putti, framed by relief decoration in the Antique style; on the walls of the drum two large scenes of miracles are each flanked by paired columns. Hovering angels are seen at the very top of the apse, and a pointing Archangel Gabriel of the Annunciation floats at upper left; he is drawn with greatly deliberated modeling and outlines.

Design for the Decoration of the Semi-Dome of a Church Apse, Workshop of Battista Franco (Italian, Venice ca. 1510–1561 Venice), Pen and brown ink, brush and gray wash, over black chalk and ruling in black chalk

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