Francia was born in Bologna as elder son of Francesco Raibolini, (Francesco Francia) and like his father was also called il Francia. His father and brother Giulio Francia were also artists. Francia was trained by his father in painting and goldsmithing, and acted as his assistant. In 1517, the year of his father's death, he and his brother, Giulio, assumed responsibility for the family business and together executed many church altarpieces, identifiable by the initials (I I) of their latinized names (Iacobus and Iulius). Late in life Giacomo came under the influence of Dosso Dossi. He died in Bologna in 1567.
Giacomo's earliest known work is the Virgin in Glory with SS Peter, Mary Magdalene, Francis, Martha and Six Nuns (after 1515; Bologna, Pin. N.). In this painting, as in the SS Jerome, Margaret and Francis (1518; Madrid, Prado) and the Nativity (1519; Parma, S Giovanni Evangelista), both dated and signed by both brothers, there appear, in addition to the influence of their father, echoes of the monumental style of Raphael. Some of his other paintings include:
- paintings in church of San Giovanni, Parma.
- two of the frescoes in the chapel of St. Cecilia at Bologna: the Baptism of Valerian and the Martyrdom of St. Cecilia.
- Madonna seated with SS. Francis, Bernard, Sebastian, and Maurice (1526) in Bologna
- St. Michael for the church of San Domenico, also in Bologna.
- Bryan, Michael (1889). Walter Armstrong & Robert Edmund Graves, ed. Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, Biographical and Critical (Volume II L-Z). York St. #4, Covent Garden, London; Original from Fogg Library, Digitized May 18, 2007: George Bell and Sons. p. 341.
- "Brief Bio Giacomo Francia". Retrieved 2009-01-22.
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