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The Madonna with the long neck

Painting, 1530-th , 219×135 cm

Description of the artwork «The Madonna with the long neck»

Like other figures of Renaissance art, the Italian Parmigianino often had to deal with writing scenes from the life of the Holy family. Repeatedly he wrote the Madonna and child – it was a piece of work, milestones, polchasa opening of the new forms reflect its refined views on beauty.

Area searches Parmigianino in relation to the virgin Mary lay in the return of the other-worldliness, which she has lost through the efforts of the painters of the Renaissance: they betrayed her more human, down-to-earth look than the inaccessible divine nature which has been given to Madonna medieval artists.

Parmigianino is almost always writes their Film through half-closed eyelids, which gives them a gentleness and chastity. Whether it is an elegant, but "questionable" from a religious point of view "Madonna with the rose" which immediately was written 50 copies (so it became popular). Or more close to iconographic standards, sublime, and peaceful "Madonna and child". As aristocratic-refined "Madonna with the prophet Zacharias".

The Madonna with the long neck: the story of the creation

Parmigianino began work on the painting in 1534, by order of Helena Taliaferro, sister of his close friend Enrico Baiardo. It was intended for the family chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi, which belonged to the Franciscans. Six years later, at the time of his death, the work was never completed. After spending two years in his Studio, "Madonna" still went to chapel, Tagliaferri and took his rightful place.

Version Vasari, Parmigianino was not able to finish the painting due to the fact that it "not quite satisfied". There are more modern versions, suggesting that in this way the artist intentionally wanted to emphasize the impossibility of reaching the ideal and the infinite desire for him.

Whatever the reason, the columns behind the virgin go nowhere, and instead of a face of the sixth angel, there is only a vague ominous sketch. According to surviving sketches, in the company of Saint Jerome, Parmigianino had planned to write of St. Francis – but also left only a barely noticeable outline of his feet.

According to some researchers, a model for the long-necked Madonna was an Italian aristocrat Paola Gonzaga. Earlier, in 1524, Parmigianino has already captured the high patron of the arts on the mural "The story of Diana and Acteon" in the ancestral castle of the counts Sanvitale (name Paola's husband). The mistress of the family residence appears on it the image of Ceres, the Roman goddess of fertility.

Pure essence of mannerism

In an effort to overcome the stalemate cliche of Renaissance painting, Parmigianino resorted to all available at the time the above. Like a rebellious teenager, doing everything contrary to the outdated beliefs of their ancestors, he distorts perspective (disproportionately tiny figure of St Jerome at the foot of the throne on which Mary sits). Throws in a bunch of characters on the left side of the canvas, leaving only the balance for the column on the right. The maximum extends and rounds off the proportions of the bodies, practically depriving the fingers of the Madonna and a hint of bones and joints.

All this, paradoxically, is not only to make the image of mesmerizing fluidity of the intricate overlapping of lines. But puts a stage beyond the earth's space, where you do not have the force of axioms of Euclidean geometry, and all animate and inanimate objects obey the laws of otherworldly, supernatural grace.

Strange dream, sleeping Baby on his Mother's lap. His unnatural posture with flowing splayed like shoulder hand, refers to the classical iconography of the Pieta (from the ital. pietà – "pity") is the image of the mourning virgin Mary dead Christ, whom she holds on her knees (1, 2, 3). So at one point meet present and future: prepared for the painter anticipates Christ's fate.

He says "the Madonna with the long neck" Parmigianino about, the artist and the alchemist

"Madonna and child, with angels and a prophet" (another title of the painting) is a kind of symbol, and at the end of the life of the painter, the apogee of his creative search. Here he perfected a proprietary serpentine grace and at the same time, wanting it or not, sets the direction for future innovators, playing on the field of surrealism.

"Madonna with the long neck" – at the same time, a supporting act in the binder lifetime acts of the artist Parmigianino and sentence him. A vessel for alchemical experiments in the hands of one of the angels is depicted not only then, to rhyme with his bare thigh and to mirror the image of the mother of God as a precious vessel that gave birth to the God-man. Mercury, which is meant this "vase of Hermes," the killer Parmigianino alchemist, and have not found the strength to abandon the idea to find a way of taming of the shrew, fluid metal, and perhaps the reason the work was never completed.

The unfinished masterpiece with a daringly asymmetrical architectonic and brought to the verge of permissible Mannerist anatomy of the figures captures the innovation and talent of the artist on the rise, and immediately announces his tragic fall. The epitaph on this monument ask the words of Vasari: "Oh, if God only wished he continued to paint, and not fond dream to freeze the mercury, for the acquisition of wealth, larger than what nature has endowed him and the sky! Indeed, in this case it would be in painting truly the only and incomparable. He is in search of what to find could never, lost time, disgraced his art and ruined his life and glory".

Author: Natalia Azarenka
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Mannerism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1530-th

Size: 219×135 cm

Artwork in selections: 23 selections