Bartsch XVI, I, no. 25 Giovanni Battista Franco, also called il Semolei or Baptista Veneziano, after his birth place - is not to be confused with his son Giacomo (1550-1620), also a prolific printmaker - was active primarily as a painter and draughtsman from 1536 in Rome, Urbino and Florence (where he was closely associated with the Medici family). Some 41 engravings are known by Franco with both devotional and classical subjects, many of which were inspired by a close study of antiquities. The inscribed initials B F V F in the lower left of the plate, referring to Battista Franco Veneziano fecit, suggest that Franco did his own engraving. The juxtaposition of St. John's poignant expression of grief with the sombre resignation of Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus cast in shadow behind suggests that Franco was powerfully attracted to Andrea Mantegna's work.