Franceschini was taught by Carlo Cignani, a pupil of Albani, who was in turn trained by the Carracci in Bologna and Rome - he therefore represents the continuation of the best of the Bolognese classical school of painting. His skill is very obvious in the beautiful drawing and colour of this work of his maturity, possibly dating from 1716.

Conservation in 2004 brought out the depth of blue in the sky and emphasised the subtlety of the lighting - a soft, miraculous glow emanating from the top left corner.


  • Title: The Guardian Angel
  • Creator Lifespan: 1648 - 1729
  • Date: 1716
  • Physical Dimensions: w753 x h1003 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Nationality: Italian
  • Support: Canvas
  • Provenance: London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Further Information: Marcantonio Franceschini studied with Giovanni Maria Galli-Bibiena before entering the studio of Cignani. As an independent painter from the early 1680s, he produced frescoes and altarpieces, as well as small mythological and pastoral subjects, which were much prized by foreign collectors. From 1691 he was engaged on an extensive decorative series for the Gartenpalais Liechtenstein outside Vienna. In 1711 he was called to Rome to make cartoons for mosaics in St Peter's, for which he was knighted by Pope Clement XI. Franceschini was a founder member of the Accademia Clementina in Bologna, succeeding Cigani as its director in 1719.
  • Artist: Franceschini, Marcantonio
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)

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