by Alexandra Tuschka
Rarely has an unfinished painting become as famous as this one. At the right edge of the picture well to recognize, the Italian painter had to leave his work unfinished, possibly by his early death in 1540. This painting shows the Madonna with the sleeping baby Jesus, who lies diagonally in the picture space in her arms. The child's arm and body extend as a semicircle through the picture space. Mary's neck, hands and feet are unnaturally elongated to heighten the expression. Some angels have gathered to look at the child reverently.
A prophet figure unrolls a scroll in the background. Possibly St. Jerome is to be seen here. A tall column rises into the air. This imbalance of the two halves of the picture is untypical for the 16th century. The curtain accentuated front area of the picture in connection with the strong depth space on the right is furthermore not a logical spatial structure.
The extreme depth of space and the distortion of the classical pictorial language are typical of Mannerism. For this period the painting represents a major work.
Parmigianino - The Madonna with the long neck
Oil on wood, 1532, 216 x 132 cm, Gallery of the Uffizi in Florence