Francesco Mazzola gen. Parmigianino
* 1503 Parma
† 1540 Casal Maggiore
Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, called Parmegianino was born in Parma on 11 January 1503. Coming from an artist family, he also began to paint. The young Parmegianino was mainly formed by Correggio's work, beside whose works he was able to immortalise himself at the church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma in 1522 for the first time. One year later he designed mythical subjects at Rocca di Fontanellato before he travelled to Rome in 1524, where he learned and worked until the Sacco di Roma in 1527. The artist's famous self-portrait in an arched mirror also originated in that time, which hangs today in Vienna. Pope Clemens VII. admired the artist's unparalleled abilities as much as the museum visitors today. In Rome Parmigianino picked up two trademarks of his art: the twisting of his figures inspired by Michelangelo and their interior calmness inspired by Raffael. His art was typically mannered in the transfer of an picture of the artist's imagination to the canvas - an Expressionistic concept instead of an idealised depiction of nature as it was exercised by the artists of the Renaissance. The result were partly very long bodies with artfully dynamicalised compositions.
In 1527, the year of the plunder of Rome by the Emperor's forces, Parmigianino went to Bologna, where he painted et al. a well-known allegoric portrait of Charles V. In 1531 he moved back to Parma, where he painted in the apse cupola of the church of Santa Maria della Steccata and intensively studied alchemy. Due to delays through his experiments in his work at the church, he was fired by the clergy in 1539. He tried to escape the wrath by moving to Casalmaggiore, where Parmegianino, the small one from Parma died at the age of 37 on 24 August 1540. His last passion, alchemy, must have weakened his health, the unfulfilled agreement with the Church was a heavy burden for him.
In 1550 the artist's vitae by Vasari were published for the first time, in which also Parmigiannino's life was told. Even though Vasari also criticised the artist's slide to the world of alchemical mysteries, he praised him as Raffael's true successor. This point of view was confirmed by a large exhibition in Vienna and Parma on the occasion of the artist's 500. Birthday, which celebrated the artist as an outstanding master of mannered art.