Parmigiano, Francesco Mazzuoli

Parmigiano, Francesco Mazzuoli familiarly known as Parmigianino, a noted Italian painter, who devoted himself to the study of sacred art, was born at Parma Jan. 11,1503. He studied under his uncles, who were artists of celebrity, and in his sixteenth year finished a picture of the Baptism of Christ. 'In 1521 Correggio's visit, to Parma afforded Parmigiano the opportunity to study the style of that great artist, and thereafter the efforts of Parmigiano betray that influence. In 1522 he painted, among other works, a Madonna with the Child, and St. Jerome, and St. Bernardin. In 1523 he went to Rome, and there studied the works of Raffaelle. Parmigiano now aimed to combine with the grace of Raffaelle the contrasts of Michael Angelo and the grace and harmony of Correggio. By Parmigiano's admirers it was said at this time that "the spirit of Raffaelle had passed into him." In 1727 he removed to Bologna, where, among other works, he painted for the church of St. Petronius the Madonna della Rosa, now in the Dresden Gallery. He returned to Parma in 1531. Having engaged to execute several extensive fiescos in the church of S. Maria Steccata, after repeated delays, he was thrown into prison for breach of contract, and on being released, instead of carrying out his undertaking, he fled to Casal Maggiore, in the territory of Cremona, where he died in 1540. Vasari, in his notice of Parmigiano, attributes his misfortunes and premature death to a passion for alchemy; but this oft- repeated story has been disproved by the researches of late biographers. Parmigiano executed several etchings, and some woodcuts are attributed to him. His works, especially his easel-pieces, are very scarce. The prominent features of his style are elegance of form, grace of countenance, contrast in the attitudes, perfect knowledge of the chiaroscuro, and the charm of color. But his figures are often characterized by excessive slenderness rather than real elegance of form, and his grace sometimes degenerates into affectation, and his contrasts into extravagance. Pariigiano was celebrated for the ease and freedom with which he designed, and for those bold strokes of the pencil which Albano calls divine. There are a few altar-pieces by Parmigiano; the most valued is that of St. Margaret in Bologna, a composition rich in figures. Guido preferred it to the St. Cecilia of Raffaelle. See Affo, Vita di F. Mazzola (1784); Bellini, Cenni intomo alla Vita ed alle Opere di Mazzuoli (1844); Mortara, Memoria della Vita di Mazzuoli (1846); Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs of Early Italian Painters; Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine Arts, vol. ii, s.v.; English Cyclopaedia, s.v.

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