Painter, court painter, draughtsman, copperplate engraver, etcher and commercial artist
At twenty the young Giovanni Battista Franco, called Il Semolei, moved to Rome, where he was fascinated by the works of Michelangelo and antiquity. He soon came in contact with the high aristocracy and the clergy, for whom he not only produced pictures, but also decorations for entries, festivals, and facades. He worked alternately in central and northern Italy, mostly in Florence, Urbino, Rome and Venice. Probably the teacher of Federico Barocci, he was also considered one of the most important students of antiquity. Franco worked not only as a painter and decorator, but was equally successful as a draughtsman and engraver. Many of his drawings were later published as engravings by his son Giacomo ('De excellentia et nobilitate delineationis libri duo', Venice 1611).