Portrait of a Man

Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola)
Parma 1503–1540 Casalmaggiore
Portrait of a Man, ca. 1527–31
Oil on canvas
35 x 26 3/4 in. (88.9 x 68 cm)
Private collection

Parmigianino animates his handsome, bearded sitter with an active pose, turning his head to the left as if he is being interrupted. His elegant right hand holds his place in a leatherbound book. A coat of rich black fabric drapes over his left shoulder while his right arm leans on a tabletop, on which also rests the glove removed for ease of turning pages. Set in an ambiguous space with a glimpse to a wooded outdoors, the subject embodies the cool aloofness of Renaissance courtly behavior and the elevated intellectualism of humanist culture.