(Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola; 1503–1540)
Three Studies of Putti
Pen and brown ink (all three studies), brown wash (studies at left and center), over red chalk (study at center); squared in black chalk (study at left)
6 1/8 x 6 1/8 inches (157 x 156 mm)
Gift of J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1924
One of Parmigianino’s principal early works is a series of mythological frescoes of circa 1523–24 in the Rocca Sanvitale at Fontanellato. After establishing a fictive architecture of spandrels and lunettes, he filled the spandrels with putti, allowing the narrative action to unfold in the lunettes. In this sheet he arrived at the final disposition of the winsome figures at center and lower left, changing their positions very little in the fresco. Their soft, sweet character and elongated, elegant bodies are typical of Parmigianino’s early style.