Correggio and Parmigianino
Master Draftsmen of the Renaissance
February 6–May 6, 2001
Accompanied by a catalogue
Correggio and Parmigianino were two of the greatest masters of the Emilian school of early 16th-century Italy. This exhibition of more than 130 drawings from English and North American public and private collections will mark the first time that a major selection of their drawings has been shown together. In his day Correggio became famous for creating magical effects of light and shadow in his paintings and drawings. Emerging from Correggio's powerful legacy, Parmigianino came into his own as a master of elegant figure drawing and as a leading artist of Mannerism. The exhibition will present a wide variety of drawing types by the two artists—rapid sketches, careful life studies, and spirited composition drafts, as well as monumental finished drawings—to illustrate the range of their creative powers. Many of the works included were preparatory for oil paintings and frescoes that are now considered milestones in the history of Italian art.
In his day, Correggio (ca. 14891534) became famous for creating magical effects of light and shadow in his paintings and drawings, and especially for his technique of sfumato (the seamless blending of tones in the manner of smoke). Correggio's drawings are almost invariably related to his paintings and his studies reveal how he meticulously studied and refined each element of a composition on paper before executing the final work. Although his approach to drawing was essentially functional, Correggio's drawings, particularly those in his favored medium of red chalk are exquisitely pictorial and full of movement. His innovative drawing techniques would later be widely imitated by Baroque artists. Among the featured drawings by Correggio were his studies for the Camera di San Paolo, San Giovanni Evangelista, and the dome of Parma Cathedral.
Emerging from Correggio's powerful legacy, Parmigianino (15031540) came into his own as a master of elegant figure drawing and as a leading artist of Mannerism. Parmigianino was an artist who, above all else, liked to draw and the selection of nearly 100 studies in the exhibition illustrated his dazzling facility in every medium. He was renowned for the fluency of his figural inventions, as is especially evident in his studies in pen and ink. The drawings by Parmigianino included studies for the frescoes in the Rocca at Fontanellato and Santa Maria della Steccata, as well as for his celebrated panel, The Madonna of the Long Neck.
Both artists worked extensively in Parma in northern Italy and, as a youth, Parmigianino almost certainly worked under Correggio. The exhibition presented a wide variety of drawings by both artistsrapid sketches, careful life studies, and spirited composition drafts, as well as monumental finished drawingsto illustrate the range of their creative powers. Many of the drawings included were preparatory for oil paintings and frescoes created in and around Parma that are now considered milestones in the history of Italian art.