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Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca

(1494 -  1557 )
UBERTINI BACCIACCA Francesco The Baptism Of Christ

Dec 9, 2015
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Artworks in Arcadja

Some works of Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca

Extracted between 15 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca - The Preaching Of Saint John The Baptist

Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca - The Preaching Of Saint John The Baptist



Gross Price
Lot number: 22
Francesco Ubertini, il Bachiacca (Florence 1494–1557) The preaching of Saint John the Baptist, oil on panel, 77.5 x 60 cm, framed Provenance: Solbiati collection, Busto Arsizio,Varese; where purchased by the present owner The painting represents Saint John the Baptist before a group of men and women. The Saint is shown wearing his characteristic fur clothing, standing at the centre of the composition, with a crowd of figures arranged around him in a circle. His right arm is raised as he preaches the word of Christ, while in his left hand he grips the staff with a cross, which is one his characteristic attributes. Among the attendant crowd are a group of men to his right with women and children to his left: some are turned towards the Baptist listening, whilst others are distracted by conversations of their own. The background is dominated by an imposing rocky outcrop overgrown with vegetation into which opens a cave framing the Baptist’’’’’’’’s silhouette, and beyond, to his left, a vista opens out onto a mountainous landscape. The compositional structure, the particularity of the individuals represented, the use of brilliant colours and the type of landscape all point to this work belonging to the artistic production of the Ubertini family, active in Florence during the sixteenth century. This family of artists consisted of three brothers who were the children of the goldsmith Francesco d’’’’’’’’Ubertino Verdi; they were called Bachiacca after the eldest of the group Bartolomeo, called Baccio (1484-1526/1529), who was most likely a pupil first and then a collaborator of Pietro Perugino. It was probably through him that the most celebrated of the three brothers, Francesco (1494-1557), was also introduced into this studio around 1505. The youngest family member was Antonio (1499-1572) described by Vasari as an ‘eccellente ricamatore’’’’’’’’ [‘excellent embroiderer’’’’’’’’]. He was active at the Medici Court and was appreciated so much that he received prestigious commissions such as the execution, following the designs of his brother Francesco, of the bridal bed of Francesco, the son of Cosimo, and Johanna of Austria in 1565. Around 1515, following his first apprenticeship in the studio of Perugino, Francesco Bachiacca gravitated towards the circle of Andrea del Sarto, with whom he collaborated on the famous decorations for the camera Borgherini and the anticamera Benintendi, alongside Francesco Granacci, Franciabigio and Pontormo. His activity, however, remained tied to that of his brother Baccio until the latter’’’’’’’’s death, after which Francesco entered the service of the Medici, participating in the realisation of the ephemeral decorations for the marriage of Cosimo and Eleanor of Toledo; subsequently he introduced his brother Antonio to court. The pictorial production of Francesco is characterised by the use of numerous sources of inspiration: allusions and models that flow into highly original eclectic compositions, that are at times archaic, retaining a taste for the Quattrocento. References to the leading exponents of early Cinquecento Florentine painting, such as Raphael, Fra Bartolomeo, Mariotto Albertinelli, Franciabigio and Andrea del Sarto, as well as Leonardo and Michelangelo whose cartoons for the celebrated Battles he was able to study, conjoin in his works with references to Northern culture, mediated through his knowledge of engravings by Albrecht Dürer and Lucas van Leyden. Many such sources, which were especially appreciated by the intellectual elite of the era, are recognisable in this apparently previously unpublished Saint John the Baptist preaching presented here. This subject was treated at least once by Francesco, now in the Fine Arts Museum, Budapest (see R. G. La France, Bachiacca. Artist of the Medici Court, Florence 2008, p.158, no. 20, fig. 9), which is of horizontal format and more compositionally articulated, and the another in a private collection, attributed to the Verdi workshop (see R. G. La France, ibid., 2008, p. 298, no.151, fig. 96). The present work reveals the typical working methods employed in the Bachiacca workshop: the use of cartoons to re-present the same elements in different works, and on occasion even the application of the contrapposto technique of Peruginesque origin. Indeed, the two seated male figures in the left foreground repeat those represented in the same position in the panel of the Legend of the Dead King, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden (see R. G. La France, ibid., 2008, p.176, no.32, pl. XX), part of the Benintendi cycle. In the present work the younger figure of the two is identical to the Dresden painting, except for the colour of his robes and hat, and the fact that he is holding a book instead of a parchment. The figure beside him only differs from that in the Dresden painting by having a longer beard and minor alterations of detail to his dress. The first figure, moreover, reappears with minor changes in the Gathering of Manna in the National Gallery, Washington (see R. G. La France, ibid., 2008, p. 216, no. 62, pl. XLIX). Technical analysis A technical examination confirms that the present painting is very well preserved and of a high quality. IR reflectography reveals the refined quality of the underdrawing in many areas, which was made with a sharp black substance tool (probably black chalk). On one side of the painting there is an accurate detailed outline drawing with delicate thin hatching, under some figures and some details of the landscape. The hatching is denser in the deeper shadows and the clothes, while it becomes sparser in the half-shadows and particularly under the landscape.  These characteristics of the underdrawing can be compared to many of Bachiacca’’’’’’’’s drawings on paper, some of which were also made with black chalk. They demonstrate the same way of hatching in various directions, the same fluidity in the depiction of some clothes and the same insistence on emphasising details such as the hands and sometimes the faces. This approach can be seen in his drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Uffizi.  In some of the figures in the painting we find traces of pouncing or sometimes a trembling contour underdrawing, which suggests the use of a pouncing made with close points. This can be seen under the red mantle of the seated man on the left: the cartoon for this figure, and for the man close to him, is probably the same that was used for the men to the left of the composition in Legend of the Dead King (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden). The figure dressed in a yellow cloak in this picture has dimensions that can be compared to the present figure. The use of pouncing in Bachiacca’’’’’’’’s drawings is documented, for example, in the sheet of the Mucius Scaevola in the British Museum. The colour palette is organised around cold hues, which are dominated by the azurite blue mineral used in the sky, the landscape and the variety of blue and violet clothes. The azurite blue mineral is also added to lead white and ochre to obtain the greyish tone of the rocks. Chromatically, the painting is similar to the abovementioned Legend of the Dead King and to some parts of the Baptism of Christ (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin). Other pigments include verdigris (also mixed with yellow), lead-based yellow, vermillion, ochre and both types of red lake: carmine and madder. The first of these is mixed with azurite to make the violet colours and the pink-red cloak of Saint John, the latter of these was used in the cloak of the man to the left and in the red cap of the woman on the right.  We are grateful to Gianluca Poldi for the technical examination.
Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca - The Flagellation

Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca - The Flagellation



Lot number: 8
Francesco Ubertini, called Bachiacca


FLORENCE 1494 - 1557

oil on panel 13 by 19 1/8 in; 33.1 by 48.7 cm.

Previously unpublished, this exquisite little panel depicting the Flagellation is a new addition to the corpus of Francesco d\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’Ubertini, known as Bacchiacca. The high quality of its execution suggests it was painted toward the mid-16th century, late in the career of the Florentine Mannerist, who died in 1557. The painting relates to another Flagellation given to Bacchiacca, in the Kress collection at the National Gallery, Washington (fig. 1; inv. no. 1952.5.81). The Washington picture portrays only the three central figures, those of Christ and the two soldiers, and sets them instead within an architectural backdrop with a landscape beyond. Robert G. La France included the Washington Flagellation in his 2008 monograph as a work from Perugino\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s studio, possibly by Bacchiacca\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s elder brother, Bartolomeo d\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’Ubertino Verdi.1 Bartolomeo was active in Perugino\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s workshop and also collaborated on works with his more celebrated younger brother, Francesco. La France notes that the open-mouthed flagellant at the left side of the Washington panel, who also appears in the present painting, corresponds with the Egyptian soldier at the left-hand edge of Bacchiacca\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s Stories from the Life of Joseph: Joseph Revealing his Identity, in the National Gallery, London (inv. no. 1219).2 La France dates the London panel to the artist\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s youth, circa 1515-1518, and believes it to be predated by the Washington panel. Comparing the figures of the Washington flagellant and the London soldier, he notes that the soldier \“is less precisely formed, its anatomy misunderstood, and the figure is more heavily draped to hide these infelicities.\”3 He concludes, therefore, that the London soldier was likely derived from the figure in the earlier Washington painting. The case could not be more different for the corresponding figure in the present painting, however. Executed decades later, the flagellant is draped only in a loin cloth and is more akin in quality to that of the Washington painting. The anatomy, while fashionably elongated, is perfectly understood, the musculature beautifully defined and the complex articulation of the figures in motion beautifully expressed. 1. R.G. La France, Bacchiacca, Artist of the Medici Court, Florence 2008, pp. 280-281, cat. no. 121, reproduced, fig. 84. 2. Ibid., pp. 150-151, cat. no., 13, reproduce plate XII. 3. Ibid., p. 281.

Fig. 1

Francesco Ubertini, called Bacchiacca, The Flagellation of Christ, oil on panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca - The Baptism Of Christ

Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca - The Baptism Of Christ



Gross Price
Lot number: 17
Francesco Ubertini, called Bachiacca

FLORENCE 1494 - 1557


oil on poplar panel

58 by 40.7 cm.; 22 7/8 by 16 in.

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Saleroom Notice


Count Enrico Costa, Florence (before 1892);

Dr. Ludwig Mond (1839-1909), London, 1892;

Thence by descent to his grandson,Henry Ludwig Mond, 2nd Baron Melchett (1898–1949);

Thence by inheritance to his wife, (Amy) Gwen, Lady Melchett (d. 1982), whom he married in 1920;

By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 24 March 1965, lot 96, for £16,000 to Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd.;

With Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd., London;

From whom acquired by the late father of the present owner.


King's Lynn, The Fermoy Art Gallery, A Collection of the Nineteen-Sixties, 22 July – 5 August, 1972, no. 2.


J.P. Richter, The Mond Collection, London 1910, vol. II, p. 445 ff., reproduced plate 18;

G. Frizzoni, 'La Raccolta Mond ed opere attinenti alla medesima', in Rassegna d'Arte, 1910, vol. XI, p. 46;

C.J. Ffoulkes, 'Richter, Il Catalogo Mond: volume II,' review in L'Arte, vol. XV, 1912, p. 272;

A. McComb, 'Francesco Ubertini (Bacchiacca)', in The Art Bulletin, vol. VIII/3, 1926, p. 165;

B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Oxford 1932, p. 36;

B. Berenson, Pitture Italiane del Rinascimento, 1936, p. 30;

R. Salvini, in U. Thieme and F. Becker (eds.), Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildendden Kunstler von der Antike biz zur Gegenwart, vol. XXXIII, Leipzig 1939, p. 522;

H.S. Merritt, Bacchiacca Studies (according to Nikolenko, 1966);

The Use of Imitation, Princeton, 1958;

B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School, London 1963, vol. I, p. 20;

F. Abbate, 'L'Attività giovanile del Bachiacca (fino al viaggio romano del 1524-5)', in Paragone, vol. XVI/189, November 1965, p. 40;

L. Nikolenko, Francesco Ubertini called Il Bacchiacca, New York 1966, pp. 17, 47–48, reproduced fig. 37;

G. Agnew and E. Joll, A Collection of the Nineteen-Sixties, exhibition catalogue, King's Lynn 1972, p. 6, cat. no. 2;

C.D. Colbert, Bachiacca in the context of Florentine Art, Ph.D., Harvard University 1978, p. 43;

R.G. La France, Francesco d'Ubertino Verdi, il Bachiacca, 1494– 1557: 'Diligente Dipintore', Ph.D., Institute of Fine Arts, New York University 2002, cat. no. 14;

R.G. La France, Bachiacca. Artist of the Medici Court, Florence 2008, pp. 169–70, cat. no. 28, reproduced plate XIX.

Catalogue Note
This beautifully preserved Baptism is a very fine example from Bachiacca's early maturity. Though still influenced at this time by Perugino, his master, this painting demonstrates the increasing individuality of the young Florentine, particularly in its use of colour which lends the overall effect a freshness that to the contemporary spectator must have seemed overtly modern. As in many of his works several of the compositional elements are derived from a variety of sources, both Netherlandish and Italian, and it is this very combination of a progressive use of colour and light with a conservative conception of form on which Bachiacca's fame and reputation rest.
The painting belongs to the period immediately prior to his trip to Rome in circa 1524, and can be very closely compared to other paintings executed during the first half of the 1520s: in particular the predellas in the Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence, illustrating episodes from the life of Saint Achatius.
The scene showing Saint Achatius being baptised is a particularly relevant comparison for the man removing his boot lower right appears in both compositions. As La France notes however, it is not just the repeated figure but also the similarly bright palette and the shared, liberal use of motifs from Lucas van Leyden that suggest they were painted within a short time of each other; in the present Baptism, the row of trees with onlookers beneath them are borrowed from Lucas\’\’s own Baptism (Bartsch 40), while the timber-framed house in the central distance features in both his Baptism and his Holy Family (Bartsch 85). Bachiacca's constant references to northern prints suggests more than a mere acquaintance with the most up-to-date advanced practices then current in Florence.
The man removing his boot is not the only motif repeated in another work by the artist. The figure standing with his legs apart in the left foreground recurs in the Borghese Imprisonment of Simeon, though his stockings are green and slashed in the present example where they are plain white in the other.
The background landscape is, furthermore, a more elaborate version of that in the Laurentian Library illumination depicting Saints Cosmas and Damian.
Bachiacca also borrowed motifs from his master Perugino; the figures of Christ and St. John are here transcribed from Perugino\’\’s own treatment of the subject in a predella in Chicago.
The Chicago predella also provides the two angels behind St. John, though Bachiacca has placed the standing angel behind the one that kneels, where in the Perugino predella they are set apart.
Bacchiacca treated the subject in a later panel (now transferred to canvas), which employs a similar mise-en-scène with the supporting figures similarly arranged in groups to the left and right, behind and in front of the protagonists.

Note on Provenance
Dr. Ludwig Mond (1839-1909), a German industrialist who settled in Britain in the 1870s, bequeathed forty-two paintings to the National Gallery on his death in 1909. Among them are some of the greatest works in the collection, including Raphael's Crucifixion, Titian's Virgin suckling the infant Christ and Lucas Cranach the Elder's The Close of the Silver Age.
1. La France, under Literature, 2008, pp. 164–68, cat. nos. 24– 26, all reproduced plate XIV. 2. Ibid., pp. 146–47, cat. no. 9, reproduced plate 9. 3. Ibid., pp. 156–57, cat. no. 18, reproduced plate X. 4. V. Garibaldi, Perugino, 2004, pp. 215–18, fig. 184. 5. La France 2008, pp. 180–81, cat. no. 34, reproduced plate XXV.
Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca - The Mary Magdalene

Francesco Ubertini Bacciacca - The Mary Magdalene



Gross Price
Lot number: 503

Francesco Ubertino Bacciaccia



Attributed to

The Mary Magdalene.
Panel 60,5 x 46,5 cm.
Private Swedish Collection: Sale, Bukowskis, Stockholm, auction 552, May 26-29 2009, lot 292 (SEK 816.000);

a Swedish deceased estate
Bachiacca, born in Florence, apprenticed in Perugino's Florentine studio, and by 1515 began to collaborate with Andrea del Sarto, Jacopo Pontormo and Francesco Granacci on the decoration of painted furnishings for the bedroom of Pierfrancesco Borgherini and Margherita Acciauoli. In 1523, he again participated with Andrea del Sarto, Franciabigio and Pontormo in the decoration of the antechamber of Giovanni Benintendi. While he established a reputation as a painter of predellas and small cabinet pictures, he eventually expanded his output to include large altarpieces, such as the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, now in Berlin.

In 1540, Bachiacca became an artist at the court of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici and Duchess Eleanor of Toledo. In this capacity, Bachiacca was a colleague and peer of the most important Florentine artists of the age, including Pontormo, Bronzino, Francesco Salviati, Tribolo, Benvenuto Cellini, Baccio Bandinelli, and his in-law Giovanni Battista del Tasso. Bachiacca's first major commission was to paint the walls and ceiling of the duke\’\’\’\’s private study with plants, animals and a landscape, which remain an important testimony of Cosimo's interest in botany and the natural sciences. Bachiacca also made cartoons for two series of tapestries, the Grotesque Spalliere (1545–49) and the Months (1550– 1553), which were woven by the newly-founded Medici tapestry works. Francesco signed only one known work, the decoration of a Terrace for the duchess and her children, with his abbreviated Christian name and nickname: "FRANC. BACHI. FACI.\”.

Bachiacca belonged to a family of at least five, and possibly as many as eight artists. His father Ubertino di Bartolomeo (ca. 1446/7-1505) was a goldsmith, his older brother Bartolomeo d\’\’\’\’ Ubertino Verdi (aka Baccio 1484-c.1526/9) was a painter, and his younger brother Antonio d\’\’\’\’Ubertino Verdi (1499–1572)—who also called himself Bachiacca—was both an embroiderer and painter. Francesco\’\’\’\’s son Carlo di Francesco Verdi (-1569) painted and Antonio\’\’\’\’s son Bartolomeo d\’\’\’\’Antonio Verdi (aka Baccino -1600) worked as an embroiderer. This latter generation probably continued to produce paintings and embroideries after Bachiacca's death and until the Verdi family extinguished about the year 1600.
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