Born in Parma and known as Parmigianino after his native city, Francesco Mazzola (1503–1540) lived only thirty-seven years, yet his eloquent, innovative art inspired his contemporaries to name him “Raphael reborn” and praise him as one of the greatest painters of his age. During his short life, Parmigianino was especially esteemed for his portraits. Today his Schiava Turca, an exquisite depiction of a young woman, is an icon in the city of Parma and admired as an expression of ideal female beauty in the tradition of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. Rarely seen outside its home institution, the Galleria Nazionale di Parma, this masterpiece crossed the Atlantic for the first time for its presentations in 2014 at the Frick and the Legion of Honor, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue offered a fresh interpretation of the identity of the sitter and was accompanied by a range of public programs.
The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca” was organized by The Frick Collection with the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture. It marked the two institutions' third collaboration in a series of loans focused on the female portrait in the Renaissance. The series previously featured Raphael’s La Fornarina (Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica) and Parmigianino’s Antea (Naples, Museo di Capodimonte).
The guest curator was Aimee Ng, Research Associate at The Frick Collection and Lecturer in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.