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Press release

Correggio and Parmigianino: Master Draftsmen of the Renaissance Opens at Metropolitan Museum February 6

February 6 – May 6, 2001

Correggio and Parmigianino were two of the greatest masters of the Emilian school of early 16th-century Italy, renowned for their painterly effects and exquisite draftsmanship. A major exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Correggio and Parmigianino: Master Draftsmen of the Renaissance, will mark the first time that a major selection of drawings by these two artists has been shown together. On view from February 6 through May 6, 2001, the exhibition will feature more than 130 drawings – many exhibited for the first time – from British and North American public and private collections.

The exhibition is made possible in part by Parmalat.

Additional support has been provided by The Schiff Foundation.

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The British Museum.

Philippe de Montebello, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, commented on the exhibition: "It is a privilege to present the first survey of drawings by Correggio and Parmigianino, the two leading Parmese artists of the Renaissance who have long been recognized for the exceptional quality of their draftsmanship. Their drawings have been sought out and prized by collectors throughout the centuries and the splendid works in this exhibition offer clear testimony to the richness of public and private collections in both England and North America."

Both artists worked extensively in Parma in northern Italy and, as a youth, Parmigianino almost certainly worked under Correggio. The exhibition will present a wide variety of drawings by both 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 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.

In his day, Correggio (ca. 1489-1534) 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 drawings by Correggio to be featured are his studies for the Camera di San Paolo, San Giovanni Evangelista, and the dome of Parma Cathedral.

Emerging from Correggio's powerful legacy, Parmigianino (1503-40) 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 illustrate 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 will include 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.


Correggio and Parmigianino: Master Draftsmen of the Renaissance will be accompanied by a catalogue illustrating all of the works in the exhibition in color, with a selection of comparative illustrations in black and white. Published by British Museum Press, the catalogue is co-authored by George R. Goldner, Hugo Chapman, Martin Clayton, and Carmen C. Bambach.

At the Metropolitan, the exhibition is organized by George R. Goldner, the Drue Heinz Chairman, and Carmen C. Bambach, Associate Curator, both of the Museum's Department of Drawings and Prints.

Prior to the presentation at the Metropolitan, the exhibition is on view at The British Museum from October 6, 2000 through January 7, 2001.


November 13, 2000

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