Attributed to Baldassare Franceschini, called Il Volterrano
Volterra 1611-1689 Florence
Saint Catherine of Siena receiving the Stigmata

PROVENANCE: Private collection, England.

Red chalk, black brush, the figure on the left squared in red chalk

202 x 290 mm. (8 x 11 3/8 in.)

Baldassare Franceschini was born the son of a sculptor, Guasparri Fransechni, in Volterra, the city from which he takes his name. Volterranos first teacher was Matteo Rosselli, and he painted alongside Giovanni da San Giovanni, whose style he is often confused with. However Franceschini was very influenced by the illusionistic fresco work painted by Cortona in the Palazzo Pitti. Volterrano knew of the work of Caravaggio, as a result of trips to Parma, Bologna and Venice (in 1640, 1652 and 1662 respectively). These were financed by the Grand Duke. Volterrano worked on frescoes in numerous palazzos including the Palazzi Niccolini, Capponi and della Gherardesca. Volterrano became the first baroque painter in Florence.

A characteristic drawing by the artist where he has used numerous figures on the same page, and with his nervous line of delineating the figure. Our drawing can be compared to a number that have been on the market in recent years.1

The identity of the Saint in our drawing has been identified by Carol Hoidra, who says, all her symbols are in our drawing book, stigmata, cross, Dominican habit, lily, ring. 2 Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) was the 25th child of a wool dyer in Northern Italy, and St. Catherine started having mystical experiences when she was only 6, seeing guardian angels as clearly as the people they protected. She became a Dominican tertiary when she was 16, and continued to have visions of Christ, Mary and the saints. She persuaded the Pope to go back to Rome from Avignon, in 1377.

1.Master Drawings from a Distinguished European Collection, Sothebys London, 6 July 2010, lot 40 and Christies London, 6 July 1999, lot 120.

2.Written communication 26 January 2013.