Oil on panel, 67.5cm by 54.5cm.
Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793) recorded that this was ‘from the Abbe Fiori in Bologna’, from whom he presumably acquired it.
The 1763 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The picture room…virgin, Christ & St John by Francesco Francia.’
The artist, sometimes known as Giacomo Raibolini, was born in Bologna where he and his younger brother Giulio (1487-1540) trained with their father, an artist and goldsmith.
After their father’s death in 1517, the brothers ran the family workshop together.
They painted many church altarpieces collaboratively over a number of years, always adding their Latinised initials to their work.