Bologna 1648 - Bologna 1729
A pupil of Carlo Cignani, Marcantonio Franceschini spent much of the 1670’s working as Cignani’s chief assistant. By the end of the decade he had begin to establish himself as an independent artist, producing altarpieces for churches in Bologna and the surrounding area. In 1680 he received first major fresco commission, for a ceiling decoration of Fortuna and the Four Seasons in the Palazzo Ranuzzi in Bologna. The success of this led to many further fresco commissions, notably in the cathedral at Piacenza (1688-1689), the church of San Bartolomeo Porta Ravegnata in Bologna (1690-1691), the Bolognese church of the Corpus Domini (1690-1696) and the Palazzo Ducale in Modena (1696). His work as a frescante culminated in the grandiose cycle of scenes from the history of the Republic of Genoa in the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa, painted between 1702 and 1704 but destroyed by fire in 1777. He also produced a large number of altarpieces and smaller scale devotional and mythological works for illustrious patrons from Emilia and beyond.
Among Franceschini’s most significant patrons was Prince Johann Adam Andreas of Liechtenstein, for whom he worked for almost two decades, between 1691 and 1709, painting numerous canvases to decorate several rooms in the Liechtenstein Garden Place in Vienna. The artist also served as an agent for the Prince in the acquisition of paintings in Italy. A founder member of the Accademia Clementina in Bologna in 1709, of which he later served a term as president, Franceschini was summoned to Rome in 1711 by Pope Clement XI to provide cartoons for the mosaic decoration of a chapel in St. Peter’s, for which he later earned a knighthood.