Madonna and Child, with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Jerome del Parmigianino

Madonna and Child, with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Jerome del Parmigianino
Madonna and Child, with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Jerome del Parmigianino

This artist's real name was Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, but being born in the city of Parma, he chose the nickname from Il Parmigianino (1503 – 1540). And it was precisely in Parma where he took his first steps as a painter, since after becoming an orphan, it was his two painter uncles who raised him and gave him his first notions about art.


Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Jerome by Parmigianino

However, his talent and personality soon took him to Rome, and he was even able to appear before Pope Clement VIII with only 21 years old to show you an amazing self-portrait.

There in Rome, between 1526 and 1527, he made this oil painting on a poplar board. A work that, due to its elongated shape, was specifically conceived for a specific chapel in the parish of Cittá di Castello.

It is said that this painter when he began to paint seemed almost possessed and completely abstracted from the rest of the world. In fact, legend has it that while he was performing this work, thesacking of Romeby the imperial armies took place. And even the soldiers came to enter the place where Parmigianino was painting, but they saw him so focused on his work and they were so moved that they let him continue with his work.

The elongated table is not the only element that is due to the characteristics of the chapel where it was to be placed. Much more remarkable is the study of light that the painter made. So he took into account the location of a window at the top of the chapel, to simulate the illumination of natural light in the scene. Although perhaps the most striking illumination is that emitted by the Virgin Mary in the upper part of the scene.

And we must also highlight the games of gestures and postures of the characters. Starting with the Child Jesus himself sitting on his mother's lap, who may seem to us to be kicking his left foot to get into our space. The same happens with the graceful way of raising the right arm Saint John the Baptist. While Saint Jerome appears lying down in a daring foreshortening. A posture that more than natural is one of absolute exhaustion after the time of vigilance that has passed.

The truth is that the work is not easy to execute. Two saints plus the Madonna with the Child, and all in a very narrow and elongated surface. It is known that Parmigianino made numerous studies to find the solution, something for which he was helped by one of his pictorial references:Correggio. Although it is also clear that he had studied and admired the work ofRaphaelandMichelangelo, the two great models for him to follow.

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