Compositional Study with the Life of the Virgin
Pen and wash in grey ink
191 × 129 mm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 1893
The masterly pen drawing was inspired by Marcantonio Raimondi’s famous engraving the Quos Ego. However, Parmigianino borrowed only its peculiar structure, and replaced the classical theme with scenes from the life of the Virgin. The drawing may have served as a study for a painted or engraved frontispiece of a book, or for a goldsmith’s work, but it is also possible that Parmigianino had no specific aim and intended it simply as a compositional study.