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)
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.