Monday, 4 August 2014

Parmigianino in the York City Art Gallery

Art Gallery Gift Collection cataloguer Matt Wigzell unearths more treasure.

Another highlight from the York City Art Gallery collection emerges, with several books on 16th Century Italian artist Parmigianino ("the little one from Parma") recently added to stock. In particular, The Art of Parmigianino by David Franklin (LJ 9.5 MAZ/F Quarto) has many great images of his work, and interesting details of his turbulent life.

Madonna of the Long Neck,
The Art of Parmigianino, Franklin, D.  p. 22
He travelled Italy to avoid the frequent wars that raged during his lifetime, and was forced to flee Rome after its sacking by Imperial forces in 1527.

He spent his last days in exile from his native Parma, having been disgraced and imprisoned for defaulting on an agreement on a major commission for the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata church. There are also rumours of an increasing obsession with alchemy in his later years.

However, Parmigianino was a prolific artist and a student of Raphael, creating many memorable paintings, drawings and etchings. One of his most famous works is the 'The Madonna of the Long Neck' (pictured right), exemplifying the artist's characteristic elongation of form.

Flicking through the book, I also discovered Parmigianino has a slight York connection. One of his paintings 'Portrait of a Man with a Book' (pictured below) is owned by York Art Gallery, and is currently on display with three other York-owned paintings in the National Gallery in London.

Once the refurbishment is complete, Parmigianino's man and his book should once more gaze down from the walls of York City Art Gallery.

Portrait of a Man with a Book, from The Art of Parmigianino, Franklin, D.  p. 97

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