Descent from the Cross

Francesco Mazzola detto Parmigianino

  • Descent from the Cross 2
  • Descent from the Cross 3
Basic information
Francesco Mazzola detto Parmigianino
Descent from the Cross
Date of creation
16th c.
oil painting
canvas oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
43 x 20.5
Information about author
Francesco Mazzola detto Parmigianino
Artist's lifetime
Francesco Mazzola, known as Parmigianino, was a leading Italian Mannerist painter in the first half of the 16th century. The personal life of the artist remains little known. He was born in Parma in 1503. After his father's death, his two uncles took care of him. At 19, the young and exceptionally gifted Parmigianino received a significant order for the execution of frescoes in the Parma Cathedral. Francesco Mazzola visited Rome in 1524 and demonstrated one of his greatest masterpieces, a self-portrait in a mirror, to Pope Clement VII. In Rome, the artist was impressed by the works of Michelangelo and Raphael, which influenced his style, which became more monumental and sophisticated. After the sack of Rome in 1527, the artist moved to Bologna before returning to Parma. His elegant and whimsical style drew the attention of patrons and collectors, who highly valued his portraits and religious images. Unfortunately, Parmigiano's monumental works remained underappreciated.
Object description
This small-scale picture was obviously made as a painting sketch for a larger composition. It depicts "The Descent from the Cross" in a non-canonical interpretation. Two angels are holding the body of Christ, while two putti are mourning his sufferings. The work is mistakenly attributed to Parmigianino. Judging by the manner of execution, the canvas was probably painted by a gifted Venetian painter in the second half of the 16th century.