One of the most important and sensitive practitioners of Mannerism and one of the period’s finest draftsmen, Francesco Mazzola, also known as Parmigianino, was born in Parma in 1503 to a family of artists.
Something of a prodigy, Francesco was commissioned to paint important frescoes with Correggio in the Cathedral of Parma in 1522.
When he was twenty years old he painted Diana e Atteone room in the Castle of Fontanellato, this room was reserved to Paola Gonzaga of Sabbioneta.
In the second middle of 1524 Parmigianino leaves Parma and he went to Rome where he painted masterpieces as Madonna dal collo lungo (in the Uffizi), Cupido che fabbrica l’arco (in Vienna), il Ritratto di giovane donna o Antea (in Napoli).
Two years later he was in Rome, but he left after the Sack in 1527 and eventually returned to Parma in 1531, where he was ordered to carry out the frescoes in the Basilica of Steccata, a duty from which he was exempted in 1539 due to non-fulfilment of contract, having not managed to finish the work. Worried about all his legal problems Parmigianino found refuge at Casalmaggiore, where he died a at the early age of 37 only a year later.
His art is noted for its grace, sensuality and for its trademark elongated figures. One of his remarkable works is the self-portrait seen in the distorted reflection of a convex mirror, now in Vienna.