Il Parmigianino

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Parmigianino, Il


(real name Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola). Born Jan. 11, 1503, in Parma; died Aug. 24, 1540, in Casalmaggiore, Lombardy. Italian painter.

Il Parmigianino developed under the influence of Correggio. Characteristic elongations of figures, unexpected foreshortenings, and optical effects appear even in his early works, such as the frescoes in the church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma (1522) and the self-portrait painted from a convex mirror (1524; Art History Museum, Vienna). Reinterpreting in his own way the work of Michelangelo and Raphael, Parmigianino became a leading mannerist. The refined gracefulness of line and the combination of muted and piercingly metallic tones that characterize his palette help create an ideal alien to life—a beauty that is enigmatic, cold, and sensual (Madonna With the Long Neck, 1534–40; Uffizi Gallery, Florence). Parmigianino’s portraits, which contributed to the development of the subjective and emotional approach to portraiture, are imbued with the spirit of aristocratic aloofness and profound inner anxiety. Parmigianino’s virtuosity is also seen in his numerous drawings and etchings. He was the first Italian artist to practice etching.


Freedberg, S. J. Parmigianino: His Works in Painting. Cambridge, Mass., 1950.
Popham, A. E. The Drawings of Parmigianino. New York, N.Y. 1953.
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