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Self-portrait in a convex mirror

Painting, 1524, 24.4×24.4 cm

Description of the artwork «Self-portrait in a convex mirror»

In 1524, by Francesco Mazzola, a very young but promising artist from Parma is sent to Rome to improve their skills, inspired by the masterpieces of Michelangelo, Raphael and other recognized masters of the time. On the advice of his uncles, who knew a lot about the arts, because they were painters, he takes with him to the capital a few fresh works to make an impression on the local connoisseurs.

And so it happened: when saw the picture of datari (official position at the papal court), "appreciated them highly, and the young man's uncle was immediately presented to Pope Clement, who, seeing the work and Francesco so young, was amazed, and after him and the whole court" (Vasari).

Of the four paintings that have prepared Parmigianino (this name will be glorified favored by the papal court painter), the fate of only one – his self-portrait written in a round hemisphere of beech wood. Despite the numerous compliments and mercy, in General, provided parmco, Pope Clement VII immediately puredrive "Self-portrait in a convex mirror" writer and playwright Pietro Aretino. "The ancestor of European journalism" part was a sensitive connoisseur of art, so the gift of the Pope took pride of place in his collection and stayed there until his death.

Look at you in the mirror

Parmigianino was trying so hard to impress high patrons that went to the almost revolutionary for the time tricks. Although in painting and before a convex mirror (and others at that time did not yet exist), as reflected therein, has acted as a significant plot and composite components.

After van Eyck did this household item significant component of the build "Portrait of Arnolfini couple" to carry meaning to the mirror has instructed Petrus Christus (it shows visitors workshop of St eligius), Quentin, Massys (shows frustrated customer meticulous money-changers) and other. But to reproduce a full simulation of such a mirror with his reflection in it first occurred to a young artist from Parma.

I must say that due to "social Elevator" only the beginning of the High Renaissance painters began to dare to write self-portraits as self-sufficient artifacts. Before considered tradesmen, rather than revered artists with the corresponding rank position, the artists hid themselves in the paintings in the guise of Bible or mythological characters, or, at worst, masked self-portrait under a conventional easel picture inside another (1, 2).

The master of illusions

The embodiment of bold ideas, Parmigianino came up thoroughly. Ordered a wooden ball and split it into hemispheres corresponding to the size of the mirror. Then began to methodically move the reflection of the tree, with the phenomenal thoroughness observing all the distortion of space, intricately refracted by the convex mirror, the glare it polished to the gloss of the surface and phantasmagoric rounding and lengthening your body. Only the person the author leaves virtually untouched the intricate influence of the reflective device. It's difficult to blame: who would have raised a hand to distort such angelic features?

Mastery of the young talent has impressed not just for the inexperienced these kinds of tricks of his contemporaries Francesco. Even sharp-tongued and not climbing into his pocket for his caustic words Alexander Benois takes off his hat before the "self", recognizing his "one of the most perfect imitations of appearances" and speaking of that portrait "I could probably compete with the grapes of Zeuxis and curtain Parasia <...> And even for our "well-behaved" photo eyes this kunshtyukov has not lost its power of illusion".

And in the 80 years of the twentieth century, American poet-avant-gardist John Asbury dedicates to the creation of a small Parma lengthy multi-page the poem "self-Portrait in a convex mirror" (excerpt cited in translation by Jan Probstein):

Francesco,
Your hand large enough to crush a sphere
And even, it seems, too – for the intricate cobwebs, –
Only contrary to her subsequent capture. (It is great,
But all are not rude – just in another dimension, like
Keith sleeping on the seabed, in comparison with a tiny ship
On the surface, of value only to himself.)
However, your eyes say that everything is surface.
The surface is what is shown,
And there is nothing but what is.

Author: Natalia Azarenka
50.00
Digital copy: 2613 × 2609 px
24.4 × 24.4 cm • 272 dpi • JPEG
44.2 × 44.2 cm • 150 dpi • JPEG
22.1 × 22.1 cm • 300 dpi • JPEG
Digital copy is a high resolution file, downloaded by the artist or artist's representative. The price also includes the right for a single reproduction of the artwork in digital or printed form.
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Renaissance

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1524

Size: 24.4×24.4 cm

Artwork in selections: 16 selections

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