Sheet of Figure Studies

WAG 1995.249


Franco made his name with drawings rather than paintings. This sheet of studies shows him working out ideas, probably for the figures of soldiers witnessing the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, a recurring subject for Franco. The swirling, almost abstract lines are characteristic of his sketching style. The drawing was previously owned by the artist Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792). His collector’s mark can be seen in the lower left corner. Reynolds owned many Franco drawings as he liked to own drawings by the masters of better known artists - Franco was believed to be the master of Federico Barocci. On Reynolds' death in 1792 he bequeathed his collection to his niece Mary Palmer. She offered part of it for sale in 1794 when it was sold by Reynolds' friend the art dealer and publisher Antonio Cesare Poggi - some of Poggi's collection was in turn sold in 1810. The remainder of Reynolds' collection was sold in 1798.