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Last updated: 1/25/2017
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Old Master Drawings and Prints: Parmigianino
(Francesco Mazzola, called Parmigianino, b. Parma, 1503-1540 d. Casalmaggiore)

North Italian Illuminated Manuscript / Italian Old Master Drawings: An Overview / Italian School, 16th-Century Drawings
Michelangelo Buonarotti (After) / Raphael / Giulio Romano / Perino del Vaga / Marcantonio Raimondi / Parmigianino
Titian (after) / Andrea Schiavone / Tintoretto / Veronese / Taddeo Zuccaro / Federico Zuccaro / Alessandro Casolani
Jacopo Palma il Giovane / Cherubino Alberti / Luca Cambiaso / Annibale Carracci / Ludovico Carracci

Italian School, 17th-Century Drawings / Bolognese School / Giovanni Baglione / Matteo Rosselli / Ercole Bazzicaluva
Baldassare Franceschini called Il Volterrano / Pier Francesco Mazzuccelli, il Morazzone / Odoardo Fialetti / Simone Cantarini
Domenichino / Francesco Albani / Giovanni Lanfranco / Guercino / Pier Francesco Mola / Antonio Busca

Italian School Printmakers, 15th-17th Centuries: Venetian School, c. 1497 / Raphael School / Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio
Marcantonio Raimondi / The Master of the Die / Anea Vico / Agostino Veneziano / Nicholas Beatrizet
Michelangelo Buonarotti (After) / Giulio Bonasone / Giovanni Battista Franco /Girolamo Fagiuoli / Cherubino Alberti
Titian (after) / Tintoretto (after) / Parmigianino / Giorgio Ghisi / Diana Scultori / Annibale Carracci / Ludovico Carracci
Agostino Carracci / Simone Cantarini / Elisabetta Sirani / Gerolamo Scarsello

Netherlandish School, 15th-17th-Century Drawings / Flemish School, 17th-Century
Bernaert van Orley / Lucas van Leyden / Maarten de Vos / Jan Baptiste de Wael / Abraham Bloemaert
Peter Paul Rubens / Philipp Sadeler / Nicolaes Maes / Rembrandt School

Netherlandish Printmakers 16th-17th Centuries: Lucas van Leyden, Maarten van Heemskerck, Cornelis Cort
Philips Galle, Abraham de Bruyn, Hans (Jan) Collaert, Adriaen Collaert, Karel de Mallery, Theodore Galle, Hendrik Goltzius
Julius Goltzius, Jacob Matham, Jan Sanraedam, Maarten de Vos, Jan Sadeler, Aegidius Sadeler, Raphael Sadeler
Crispin de Passe, Magdalena de Passe, Wierix Brothers, Rembrandt, Rembrandt School, Jan Lievens, Jan Joris van Vliet,
Ferdinand Bol, Govert Flinck
German Drawings: Hans Sebald Beham / Virgil Solis / Hans von Aachen / Joseph Heinrich Roos
German 16th century printmakers: Heinrich Aldegrever, Jost Amman, Hans Sebald Beham, Hans Brosamer, Hans Burgkmair,
Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Durer, Albrecht Durer (After), Hans Holbein (After), Hopfer Brothers, Georg Pencz, Hans Schäufelein,
Virgil Solis, Wolfgang Stuber

French Drawings: Charles de La Fosse / Etienne Parrocel / François Boucher / Jean-François de Neufforge / Mouricault
French printmakers: Etienne Delaune / Rene Boyvin /Thomas de Leu / Jean Cousin the Younger / Jacques Callot
Abraham Bosse / Sebastien Bourdon / Claude Gelle "le Lorraine" / Jean LePautre
Claudine Bouzonnet Stella / Antonette Bouzonnet Stella / Gabriel Perelle

19th-Century Drawings / 20th-Century Drawings
In his wonderful essay on Mannerism, John Shearman defines Mannerism as "the stylish style" (p. 19), a style "drenched in maniera and, conversely should not be marked by qualities inimical to it, such as strain, brutality, violence, and overt passion. We require, in fact, poise, refinement, and sophistication, and works of art that are polished, rarified, and idealized away from the natural:hot-house plants, cultured most carefully. Mannerism should, by tradition, speak a silver-tongued language of articulate, if unnatural beauty." Vasari's discussion of Parmigianino, who was himself only 7 years older than Vasari, shows how precisely Shearman has caught the essence of Mannerism: "Among the numerous Lombards endowed with grace and vivacity of imagination in painting and the power of making beautiful landscapes, the first place must be conceded to Francesco Mazzuoli, who was liberally endowed with the richest gifts of a painter, giving his figures a certain sweetness and lightness of pose peculiar to him. His heads possess every necessary quality, so that his style ["maniera"] has been much imitated for its charm, and his works will always be valued and himself honored by students of design [a term combining both compositional ability and draftsmanship much discussed in Vasari's Life of Michelangelo, for him the culmination of art development bestowed upon art and the world by God]." As David Ekserdjian argues, "regardless of the universally recognized merits of his paintings, it is first and foremost the beauty, richness, and range of his graphic works that makes him one of the most distinguished but also endlessly surprising artists of the Italian Renaissance" (Ekserdjian, in Franklin, p. 47).

This is an interesting moment for lovers of both Parmigianino and Old Master drawings generally. The new catalogue raisonné of Parmigianino's drawings by Beguin et al—the first since A. E. Popham's magisterial study published by the Yale University Press in 1971—adds 151 new drawings to the corpus of drawings included in Popham, almost all of which are presently in major museum collections attributed to Parmigianino. While the sheer number is surprising, the process is not: collectors or their estates put works up for sale, the experts examine them, and confirm or reject them as by the artist. Partly this may be a consequence of the inevitable transfer of privately-held works into public collections, part of it is a consequence of our additional knowledge: each new study changes our understanding of an artist to some degree, each new work accepted into the canon lets us see others that suddenly have a new context in which we can see them, and seeing them with their peers, we may decide that is where they belong (or not).

In 2007 another new catalogue raisonné of Parmigianino's drawings was published (Achim Gnann, Parmigianino: Die Zeichnungen, 2 vols [Petersburg: Michael Imhoff Verlag, 2007]). This new volume discusses and illustrates 1004 drawings, ranging from quite finished to first thoughts about layout and arrangement. The relevant drawings in this catalogue can be seen at 61, *203, 213, 215, 219, 220, *383, 384, 389, *390, 402, 403, 411, *412, 459, 472, *505, *509, *535, *543, *661, 719, 799, 812, 813, 848, 878, and 896 (I have indicated with an asterisk the ones that struck me as most relevant, but together they suggest ways of thinking about a composition that seems very in tune with our drawing).

Selected Bibliography: Carmen C. Bambach et al, Corregio & Parmigianino: Master Draughtsmen of the Renaissance (London: British Museum, 2000); Sylvie Beguin, Mario Di Giampaolo, and Mary Vaccaro, Parmigianino: The Drawings (Turin: Umberto Allemandi, 2000); Diane De Grazia, Corregio and His Legacy: Sixteenth-Century Emilian Drawings (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1984); David Ekserdjian, Parmigianino (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006); David Franklin, The Art of Parmigianino with an essay by David Ekserdjian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003); Sydney J. Freedberg, Parmigianino (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1950); Mario Di Giampaolo, Parmigianino: Catalogo completo (Florence: Cantini, 1991); Cecil Gould, Parmigianino (NY: Abbeville Press, 1994); Achim Gnann, Parmigianino: Die Zeichnungen, 2 vols (Petersburg: Michael Imhoff Verlag, 2007); A. E. Popham, Drawings of Parmigianino (NY: Beechhurst, 1953); Paula Rossi, L'Opera Completa del Parmigianino (Milano: Rizzoli Editore, 1980); Lucia Fornari Schianchi, ed. Parmigianino e Il Manierismo Europeo: Atti Del Convegno Internazionale Di Studi Parma,13-15 Giugno 2002 (Milano: Silvana Editoriale, 2002 ); John Shearman, Mannerism (NY: Penguin, 1967, 1973); Mary Vaccaro, Parmigianino the Paintings (Turin: Umberto Allemandi, 2002); Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 4 vols (London: Everyman's Library, 1963; his Life of Parmigianino is in volume 3, pages 6-14).

Although Parmigianino has left us "an exceptionally large corpus of hundreds of drawings" (Ekserdjian, in Franklin, p. 31), he made only 15 prints; Master F. P. made 26 etchings (some signed F. P. as if by Parmigianino), and Andrea Schiavone, who introduced Mannerism into Venice, made an additional 87 in the style of Parmigianino. For Parmigianino's prints and his influence as a printmaker, see Henri Zerner, The Illustrated Bartsch 32: Italian Masters of the 16th Century: Parmigianino, Master F. P. , Meldolla, Schiavone, Titian, Marconi, Tintoretto, Bresciano, Franco, P. Farinati, H. Farinati, del Moro, Fontana, Valentinis (NY: Abaris Books, 1979).
Parmigianino, attributed to, The Adoration of the Magi. Pen and brown ink and wash, c. 1526. For a drawing of c. 1526 that exhibits the same look and feel as ours, see plate 37, Christ Healing the Sick, in the new catalogue raisonné of Parmigianino's drawings, by Beguin et al (2000; this is also Popham 5). The drawing is a quick and lively study of the layout of the work in which Parmigianino does not take time to sketch in the features of the individual figures but is more concerned with setting the scene of the appearance of the Magi in a stable surrounded by farm animals and an infant in his mother's arms to which their royalty pays homage. Provenance: John Flaxman R.A., English, 1755-1826; Flaxman worked in Rome 1787-1794. On the provenance, see the letter below and the reproduction of the verso of the drawing below that, where it is titled "The wise men's offering." Image size: 88x110mm. Price: $57,500.
John Flaxman (England, 1755-1826) was "the most famous English Neo-classical sculptor of the late 18th century and the early 19th. He . . . became noted for the piety and humanity of his church monuments. He also had an international reputation based on his outline illustrations to the works of Homer, Aeschylus and Dante, which led him to be described by Goethe as the 'idol of all the dilettanti' " (David Bindman, "John Flaxman," Grove Dictionary of Art 11: 162-65; here at 162). Flaxman was in Rome from 1787-1794 and would have had opportunities to purchase Italian Renaissance drawings. We also purchased the Raphael mentioned in the letter reproduced above. The initial "T" above seems to come from the same hand that made the "F" at the bottom left of the Raphael drawing (click here for comparison) where it is signed "J. F."
Parmigianino, attributed to, The young Christ teaching in the temple. Pen and brown ink and wash on laid paper. A very elongated youthful Jesus gestures towards one of two older men who appear startled and struck by his words. The drawing is laid down upon heavier gray paper that has been cut to give the appearance of a picture frame and was almost certainly taken from some collector's album of drawings. The composition itself is striking: instead of presenting Jesus to the viewer frontally, we see him only from the rear; instead a a temple full of scholars, we see, as in closeup, only two in an undefined space, or rather, a space defined only by our recognition of who the characters in this little drama must be. Although Parmigianino made many drawings in red chalk, he also worked extensively in pen, "both on its own, in a linear, hatched, and cross hatched manner, and accompanied by boldly applied washes" (Ekserdjian, in Franklin, p. 32). See Beguin et al (2000), catalogue numbers 23, 73, 74, 93, 133, and 151 for comparable studies showing similar use of heavy cross-hatchings and short parallel diagonal lines to indicate differing depths of shadow. Note also the very pronounced calf of the 12-year- old Jesus. Interestingly, Ekserdjian notes that "From the very beginning, Parmigianino made drawings that were not preparatory studies for paintings, and this continued to be his practice throughout his career" (p. 43). Image size: 188x110mm. Price: SOLD.
Parmigianino, Judith (Bartsch 1). Original etching, c. 1530. A fine impression of this delicate print on laid paper. According to David Ekserdjian's essay on Parmigianino's drawings and prints, Parmigianino is the "de facto father of Italian etching" ((Ekserdjian, in Franklin, p. 42). Thread margins or trimmed on the plate mark; several very short repaired edge tears. Illustrated in Eva/Ave: Images of Women in Renaissance Prints (National Gallery of Art, 1990), plate 22. There is a preparatory drawing for this etching in the British Museum (illustrated in Popham, plate XXXIX). Parmigianino was one of the most important of the first generation of Italian Mannerists. He influenced several generations of successors. Rare! Image size: 156x90mm. Price: $8500.
Parmigianino, The Resurrection (Bartsch 6). Original etching, c. 1527-30. A very good impression on laid paper. According to David Ekserdjian's essay on Parmigianino's drawings and prints, Parmigianino is the "de facto father of Italian etching" (Ekserdjian, in Franklin, p. 42). Thread margins. There is a full-page reproduction of this engraving in The Renaissance Engravers, ed. Charmian Mesentseva, Curator of Northern European Prints at the Hermitage Museum in Petersburg, Russia, all of whose examples are drawn from the print collection of the Hermitage Museum; ours appears to be a stronger impression. Parmigianino was one of the most important of the first generation of Italian Mannerists. He influenced several generations of successors. Rare! One might also describe it as "Extremely scarce" another description, but we try to avoid hyperbole (except when we revel in it!) Image size: 213x136mm. Price: $12,500.

Despite appearances, the print is rectangular; the photograph was slightly off-plane resulting in the trapezoidal shape.
Parmigianino, The Resurrection (Bartsch 6). Original etching, c. 1527-30. A rich, dark impression on laid paper. According to David Ekserdjian's essay on Parmigianino's drawings and prints, Parmigianino is the "de facto father of Italian etching" (Ekserdjian, in Franklin, p. 42). Trimmed inside the plate mark; squared for transfer. There is a full-page reproduction of this engraving in The Renaissance Engravers, ed. Charmian Mezentseva, Curator of the Northern European Prints at the Hermitage Museum in Petersburg, Russia, all of whose examples are drawn from the print collection of the Hermitage Museum. Although it is hard to judge from the photograph, ours appears to be a stronger impression. Parmigianino was one of the most important of the first generation of Italian Mannerists. He influenced several generations of successors. Rare! Image size: 211x136mm; our impression as trimmed: 209x132mm. Price: $10,000.

Despite appearances, the print is rectangular; the photograph was slightly off-plane resulting in the trapezoidal shape.
Master F. P., Woman Examining an Armillary Sphere / Diana and Endmyion (Bartsch 20). Etching after Parmigianino, c. 1530. Very good impression on laid paper; pale stains, paper flaws verso. Master F. P. was associated with Parmigianino and translated a number of his paintings and drawings into etchings. The subject is related to the legend of Endymion and his love for Diana. Endymion fell in love with Diana, a chaste goddess. She took pity upon his passion and gave him eternal sleep in which he dreams of her. Here, a very strong and confident female figure gazes upon a man visible only from his back) sitting upon a stony bed with the text EDIMEON, to which an apparently later hand has add an initial reversed N to suggest ENDIMEON. Parmigianino's drawing survives. Image size: 105x76mm. Price: $5000.
Master F. P., St. John (Bartsch 5). Etching after Parmigianino, c. 1530. Very good impression on laid paper, trimmed on or within the plate mark [The print is rectangular; while photographing it, the right size lifted up from the mat, hence the visible shadow along the right.] Master F. P. was associated with Parmigianino and translated a number of his paintings and drawings into etchings. This work is part of a series depicting Christ and the Twelve Apostles. Provenance: G. A. Cardew's collector's stamp (Lugt 1134) on the verso. Image size: 113x62mm. Price: $3250.

Despite appearances, the print is rectangular; the lower right corner lifted up off the mat while I was photographing it resulting in the irregular shape and the shadow on the right side.
Raimondi School (Italian, fl. 1525-50), The Virgin with the young Jesus (Bartsch 12). Engraving after Parmigianino, c. 1530. Good impression on laid paper trimmed within the platemark. Small loss to lower right corner, small stain in window are to the right of the Virgin's head. Some surface soiling. Image size: 222x125mm. Price: $1850.
Aenea Vico (Parma 1523-Ferrara 1567), Prudence. Etching after Parmigianino, 1543. Very good impression on laid paper without a watermark; small puncture top right corner, some paper soiling. Inscribed lower left: "Franc. Parm. In"; in tablet above: "1543 / AE V." Not listed in Bartsch (though the commentary volume may include it when it appears. Prudence sits with her mirror, pondering the present; the image she sees appears to be an idealized and elongated image of herself as we see her; behind, upper left, a rocky landscape is visible, perhaps suggesting trials to come in the future. Thread margins. Bartsch attributes 494 engravings to Vico, most of which are costumes (B. 134-323), Portraits and Medals (B. 324-417), or Architectural and Ornamental Subjects (B. 418-494). Many of his works are after Michelangelo, Raphael, Giulio Romano, Marcantonio Raimondi, Perino del Vaga, Parmigianino, Rosso Fiorentino, Vasari, Giulio Clovio (whom Vasari describes as the Michelangelo of the miniature), Primaticcio, and Francesco Salviati. Although he signs himself "Enea Vigo Parmigiano" in The Academy of Baccio Bandinelli (Bartsch 49), most of his works were inspired by the most important artists working in Rome (although he did do three other engravings after Parmigianino). Image size: 136x95mm. Price: $2850.
Giulio Bonasone (Bologna, Rome; fl. 1531-1574), Circe and Odysseus's Mariners (Bartsch 85 i/ii). Engraving after Parmigianino, c. 1542. A very good impression on laid paper with large margin of the first state before Parmigianino is credited as the inventor of this image. The best known version of the story is Homer's Odyssey, though versions of it appear in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Book II of Spenser's Faerie Queene, and Milton's Comus. Recently, Bonasone has been the subject of a number of monographs and exhibitions. One of the most important Italian printmakers of the middle third of the 16th century. Image size: 136x95mm. Price: SOLD.
Parmigianino, AFTER, Venus chastising Cupid. Engraving after Parmigianino, c. 1550? Every art historian who has looked at this agrees that it must be after Parmigianino, but no one has any idea of who might have made it. It is, in any case, an early example of the kind of works that Agostino Carracci would later make. Diane de Grazia's discussion of Agostino's Lascivie is very useful here. A very good impression on antique laid paper. Image size: 127x88mm. Price: $2850.

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