Francesco Mazzola Parmigianino Biography | Oil Paintings
1-11-1503 Parma, ITA – 8-24-1540 Cremona, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola was known as Parmigianino (the little Parmesan) or Parmigiano from his birthplace in Parma. His father and two uncles were painters and from them, he learned his craft. Later he followed the style of Correggio, who settled in Parma, and they worked together on many frescoes for the churches in Parma. Tense, polished and intellectual, Parmigianino developed a stylistic counterpoint to his master Correggio. Blessed with precocious talent, his work was a sophisticated version of the emerging Mannerist style. His refined handling in the Portrait Of A Young Woman Anthea creates an effect of almost magic hyper-realism, making him an excellent and fascinating portrait painter. The faces of his models often express a sense of doubt and tension concealed behind their gelid stillness.
Parmigianino A Confrontation of Beauty and Elegance.
When he was twenty years old in 1523, Parmigianino painted Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror, this remarkable self-portrait, a virtuoso tour de force that recreates the distortion of the face, hands, and room as reflected in a convex mirror. He took the painting to Rome as proof of his talent. In the artistic climate of the court of Pope Clement VII, he painted fine, confident portraits and religious subjects that began to manifest the influence of Mannerist experimentation where he worked on the ceiling of the Sala dei Pontifici and painted his earliest individual work, Vision of St. Jerome.
Following the Sack of Rome in 1527 he fled to Bologna, where he painted the great Madonna altarpiece for the convent of St Margaret. He returned to Parma in 1531 where he resumed his former rivalry with Correggio. He was commissioned to paint a series of frescoes including in the Church of the Madonna Della Steccata that were marked by a refined and stylized classicism. During this period his figures became elongated, assuming sinuous poses. These paintings pre-date El Greco's famous elongated figures since Parmigianino died one year before El Greco was born.
Defaulting to finish, he was imprisoned for two months for breach of contract after the Confraternita decided to ban him from continuing in their church. On his release, he decamped to Cremona. In the final years of his short life, he withdrew into himself and became obsessed with his experiments in alchemy. His few surviving paintings are distinguished by their grace and serenity.
Art Movement History: Mannerism.
Artists Influencing Parmigianino: Correggio.
Painters Parmigianino Influenced: El Greco, Pomponeo Amidano, Giacomo Bertoia, Francesco Borgani.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.