Bust of a Man

The fresco technique used here, of painting in mineral pigments suspended in water on wet plaster, gives results of great freshness and immediacy. Although fresco painting is usually associated with a fixed wall surface, portable frescoes on wickerwork, slate or, as here, terracotta tiles, were quite common in Florence during the 17th century. The rapid and fluid brushstrokes displayed throughout this picture demonstrate the freedom of execution achieved through the fresco medium.

The painting entered the collection in 1921 as a work by Guido Reni. The name of Franceschini, one of the most famous and prolific fresco painters in 17th-century Florence, was first associated with the painting in 1929.

Key facts

Artist dates
1611 - 1690
Full title
Bust of a Man
Date made
about 1645
Medium and support
Fresco on terracotta tile
50.7 x 35.5 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1921
Inventory number
Location in Gallery