Studies for Lucretia, Proserpina, and Mercury
Pen and wash in brown ink, heightened
188 × 96 mm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 1883
The drawing was inspired by Marcantonio Raimondi’s engraving of Lucretia that Parmigianino transformed into an elegant slim figure. For the Roman heroine’s right arm grasping a dagger, he drew a small detail study at top of the sheet, based on a live model holding a staff. The work was intended for Parmigianino’s lost painting representing the suicide of Lucretia.
The Martyrdom of Two Saints
Engraving, 258 × 451 mm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 46019
Jacopo Caraglio was the only engraver with whom Parmigianino cooperated in Rome. The Martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul is one of the four prints that we owe to their collaboration, whose success encouraged Parmigianino to produce its woodcut version later in Bologna with Antonio da Trento. The composition combining two scenes was inspired by Marcantonio Raimondi’s Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia, from which Parmigianino not only borrowed many details but the two engravings are also of almost identical size.
Study for a Group
Pen and wash in brown ink, over black chalk, heightened
143 × 161 mm
Museum of Fine 1888
Although no commisions for frescoes from Parmigianino’s Roman years are documented, many compositional drawings by the artist have survived specifically for wall paintings. On the Budapest sheet he developed a detail of a large composition, perhaps a scene from the lives of the apostles. The painter, inexperienced in large-scale compositions, turned to the Vatican frescoes of his exemplar, Raphael.
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.
Sts Peter and John Healing a Lame Man
Etching and chiaroscuro woodcut, 268 × 401 mm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 6286
Despite the technical novelties, this is Parmigianino’s most conservative composition, inspired by one of Raphael’s drawings for the tapestries intended for the Sistine Chapel. By the unusual combination of etching and woodcut, Parmigianino evoked the effects of washed pen drawings. The etching was executed by Parmigianino himself, but the cutting of the woodblocks required a skilled craftsman.
Etching and engraving
65 × 100 mm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 6291
Parmigianino not only cooperated with the most eminent printmakers of the period, but was the first Italian painter making etchings himself. The Sleeping Cupid is a free interpretation of the slain child in the foreground of The Massacre of the Innocents by Marcantonio Raimondi and Raphael. It was one of Parmigianino’s first etchings in which he experimented with the possibilities of the technique.