Still more on Francesco Francia’s Portrait of Federigo Gonzaga

Raphael’s Santa Cecilia is supposed to have produced such a feeling of inferiority in Francia that it caused him to die of depression. However, as his friendship with Raphael is now well-known, this story has been discredited.

Here it is, anyway:

Go see that next time you’re in Bologna.  What’s that?  In no hurry to get to Bologna?  Perhaps Mr. James Salter can persuade you:

“Bologna is famous for three things,” she said.  “It’s famous for its learning – it has the oldest university in Italy, founded in the twelfth century.  It’s famous for its food.  The cuisine is the finest in the country.  You can eat in Bologna as nowhere else, that’s well known.  And lastly, it’s famous for fellatio.”  She used another word.

“It’s a specialty,” she said.  “All the various forms are called by the names of pasta.  Rigate, for instance,” she explained, “which is a pasta with thin, fluted marks.  For that the girls gently use their teeth.  When there used to be brothels there was always a Signorina Bolongese – that was her specialty.”


More on Francisco Francia’s Portrait of Federigo Gonzaga

In July 1510 the ten-year-old Federigo Gonzaga was sent from Mantua to Rome as a hostage. On his way to Rome he stopped in Bologna, where Francia astounded everyone by painting and delivering his portrait in twelve days. The picture was subsequently taken to Rome for the admiration of the papal court and was only reluctantly returned to Isabella d’Este, Federigo’s mother. The fine execution of this famous portrait is typical of Francia’s best work.

– says the Met, where this painting is NOT ON DISPLAY.  Later in life, Titian would take a crack at Federigo: