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Culture news, 29.12.2003 16:46

Parmigianino in arts and ages: new exhibition in the Hermitage

Parmigianino in arts and ages: new exhibition in the Hermitage On 26 December an exhibition of Parmigianino, a great artist of the 16th century was opened in the New Hermitage’s Twelve Columns Hall. Designed to show the enormous effect his achievement had on the art of Europe, the display includes over 140 exhibits — Parmigianino’s etchings and drawings, alongside porcelain, majolica and enamels from the Hermitage collection of applied art. Three Parmigianino drawings are loaned by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

2003 marked five hundred years from the birth of Francesco Mazzola called Parmigianino, one of the most enchanting and bizarre artists in the history of world art. Parmigianino is acclaimed as the foremost representative of mannerism, a style which was born in Italy about 1520 and then determined European art for a century. The first section of the exhibition focuses on the artist’s own drawings and etchings. The drawings showed in the exhibit attest to the graphic talent of Parmigianino, who was able to sketch a complicated figure with just a few thin lines, outline a magnificent composition of any complexity, create a fantastic image or captivate a moment of reality by a few touches of hand. Parmigianino was one of the first to take up the avant-garde art of etching in the early 16th century. His etchings look surprisingly modern.

The second section centers around the history of perception and interpretation of Parmigianino’s art in the 16th and subsequent centuries. Soon after he died, Giulio Bonasone created a series of engravings reproducing Parmigianino’s best works, which made him popular throughout Italy.

For five centuries, the name of Parmigianino has been a myth of European culture, whose tragic mystery continues to cast its spell even now. Parmigianino has been either praised or castigated, and his image has always provoked hot debate. The energy of his art makes him contemporary to all ages, and his bizarre character and mysterious destiny add to its everlasting fascination.

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(c) 2000