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Franklin, David 1961-

FRANKLIN, David 1961-


Born 1961. Education: Received Ph.D.


Office—National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr., Ottawa, Ontario K1N 9N4, Canada. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Yale University Press, P.O. Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520-6040.


Author, art historian, and museum curator and director. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, deputy director and chief curator.


Rosso in Italy: The Italian Career of Rosso Fiorentino, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1994.

Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500-1550, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2001.

(With Annemarie Sawkins and Louis Alexander Waldman) Italian Renaissance Masters, edited by Annemarie Sawkins, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI), 2001.

The Art of Parmigianino, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2003.

Italian Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada, National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

(Editor) Treasures of the National Gallery of Canada, National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

(With Joaneath Spicer and Odilia Bonebakker) Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada (exhibit catalogue), National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 2004.


As director of the National Gallery of Canada, author and art historian David Franklin often has the opportunity to experience some of the world's greatest paintings both as a writer and as a museum professional. Franklin's The Art of Parmigianino was produced as a companion volume to a show of Parmigianino's work at the National Gallery. The book contains reproductions of more than 200 of Parmigianino's drawings, exploring the artist's expert hand at using line and tone and revealing his mastery of media such as chalk and ink. Parmigianino's art demonstrated his highly refined skill as a technical draftsman as well as his excellence at portraying the emotion of his subjects, reported a reviewer in American Artist. "The artist's creative output is astonishing," the reviewer wrote, "and it is so well explained and documented in this book that anyone interested in the evocative power of drawing will be more than satisfied." Library Journal reviewer Sandra Rothenberg called the book "scholarly and original."

Franklin takes the opportunity to praise and explore the holdings of the museum in Treasures of the National Gallery of Canada. The book offers illustrations and information on the collections in Canada's largest visual arts museum. The holdings are primarily works by Canadian artists, but they also include material from Asian, European, and Inuit artists as well. Approximately 130 works are profiled, with accompanying essays by curators and other experts. "The essays are articulate and informative, the full-page illustrations are excellent, and the entire work is elegantly produced," remarked Paula Frosch in Library Journal.

In Rosso in Italy: The Italian Career of Rosso Fiorentino, Franklin presents a highly detailed exploration of the painter's life and career, from his early artistic training to years he spent in Italy and Venice before leaving for France in 1530. Franklin provides particularly detailed analyses of each of Rosso's major works, plus "a thorough contextualization of the artist's paintings, with extensive evidence on their patronage and sites, thus giving the reader far more than a history of Rosso's life and work," commented John T. Paoletti in the Renaissance Quarterly. Franklin discusses in depth the rationale behind the removal of some paintings from Rosso's canon due to style, and the addition of another newly attributed work discovered tucked away in a private collection. He also provides numerous topics ripe for further analysis and discussion, including his opinion that "the term High Renaissance needs reassessment," Paoletti commented. Paoletti concluded, "All told this is an impressive first book."

Franklin closely examines "the many crosscurrents of painting active in Florence" during the first half of the sixteenth century in Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500-1550, commented Ellen Bates in Library Journal. The book offers detailed discussion of twelve important artists, including Michelangelo, Leonardo, Perugino, Fra Bartolomeo, and others. Franklin considers the painters' styles and looks for the rise and fall of schools of painting during the period. He argues against definitions that have commonly been applied to artists of the time, including such terms as "classicist," "Mannerist," or "High Renaissance." "'High Renaissance,' for example, is inadequate because artists like Fra Bartolomeo and Ridolfo Gbirlandaio, traditionally counted among its best representatives, do not actually bring any 'Renaissance' to a culmination," observed Michael Cole in Art Bulletin. "Rather, they spin out conservative versions of an already entrenched style." Cole remarked that Franklin "rejects broad stylistic labels in favor of chronological complexity and artistic diversity."

Bates called Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500-1550 "dense" and "difficult, but well-organized," observing that the book would be valuable to both art scholars and students of art history. "One must admire the rare combination of skills on which Franklin's book relies," Cole commented. "It demonstrates long experience with primary documentary material, both published and unpublished, and with actual paintings, including many that are by relatively unknown artists and a few that are seldom on public display." Cole concluded that the book's "substantial rereadings of the lives and work of many of the most important Florentine painters of the early sixteenth century … should make it a basic resource for those in the field."



American Artist, August, 2004, review of The Art of Parmigianino, p. 74.

Art Bulletin, March, 2003, Michael Cole, "Michelangelo and the Reform of Art and Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500-1550," review of Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500-1550, p. 192.

Library Journal, February 1, 2002, Ellen Bates, review of Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500-1550, p. 95; December, 2003, Paula Frosch, review of Treasures of the National Gallery of Canada, p. 112; April 15, 2004, Sandra Rothenberg, review of The Art of Parmigianino, p. 78.

Renaissance Quarterly, winter, 1996, John T. Paoletti, review of Rosso in Italy: The Italian Career of Rosso Fiorentino, p. 905.

Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 2002, review of Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500-1550, p. 70.*

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