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Parmigianino, Francesco (1503–1540)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1045

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Parmigianino, Francesco (1503–1540). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Real name: Francesco Mazzola. Italian painter, native of Parma. A precocious talent, he began painting at the age of 16 when he painted Baptism, which reveals his study of Correggio. At the age of 19 he painted frescoes in the three chapels of San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma. Thereafter most of his paintings were on the theme of Madonna and Child, with studied elegance, long limbs, finely drawn features, and impressive coiffures. The best examples of his work are Madonna and Child with St. Margaret and Other Saints (1529), Madonna and Child with Mary Magdalene and St. Zaccaria (1535), and the unfinished Madonna and Child with Angels and St Jerome, also known as Madonna of the Long Neck (1535). His sophisticated ability to paint features, gestures, and poses are evident in Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine (1525) and Vision of St. Jerome (1527). He was working on the latter picture during the Sack of Rome, when the marauders were so overawed by the beauty of the painting that they allowed him to escape to Bologna. During his stay at Bologna he produced a series of large religious works, notably the Conversion of St. Paul and the celebrated Madonna of the Rose, both of which share his signature trait of exaggerated refinement. He returned to Parma and resumed work on the Church of the Steccata. But his neurotic temperament brought him into conflict with the church authorities, who dismissed him. The landscape backgrounds to his religious works have a mysterious and visionary quality.


  • Parmigianino, Francesco (1503–1540);
  • Italian painter, native of Parma;
  • paintings, on madonna and child;
  • celebrated madonna of the rose