By Anne Leader

Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, better known as Parmigianino, was born 11 January 1503.  The artist derived his nickname from his hometown of Parma

His career, though cut short, was successful as he gained fame in Parma and Rome, following in the footsteps of Correggio and Raphael. Associated with the so-called Mannerist tendency in sixteenth-century art, Parmigianino created portraits, religious works, and mythological subjects all with his signature elegance, grace, and elongated human forms. His Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror, painted when he was only 21, was one of three paintings given to Pope Clement VII, securing important commissions for him at the Vatican. Important works in Parma included his famous Madonna of the Long Neck, which decorated the Baiardi chapel at Santa Maria dei Servi and his titillating Cupid Sharpening his Bow, which inspired a copy by Peter Paul Rubens. Parmigianino died on 24 August 1540 in Casalmaggiore at age 37. 

Reference: David Ekserdjian. “Parmigianino.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Further reading: The Art of Parmigianino by David Franklin (2004); and Parmigianinoby David Ekserdjian (2006).

Bishop Saint in Prayer, 1528-30, brush and brown wash over black chalk, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Van Day Truex Fund, 1995

Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror, oil on panel, 1524, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Antea, ca. 1531-34, oil on canvas, Naples, Museo e Gallerie Nazionale di Capodimonte

Portrait of a Man, ca. 1527-31, oil on canvas, Private Collection

Schiava Turca, ca. 1531-34, oil on panel, Galleria Nazionale di Parma

Cupid Sharpening his Bow, 1534-39, oil on panel, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Madonna of the Long Neck, oil on panel, 1534-40, Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi.

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