Parmigianino, the Most Precious Jewel

The “Saletta of Diana und Atteone” is the masterpiece frescoed by Francesco Mazzola, called Parmigianino, one of the greatest masters of Italian Mannerism

By Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

The vault- General view (16th Century) by Francesco Mazzola, ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Parmigianino e l'affresco di Fontanellato
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Francesco Mazzola, called "Parmigianino", worked in the Rocca in Fontanellato in 1523. He painted the Myth of Diana and Acteon in the lunettes and on the vault.

Atteone chases the Nymph (16th Century) by Francesco Mazzola, ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Atteone cacciatore
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During a hunt, Atteone, the protagonist, accidentally sees the goddess Diana while she was taking a bath with her servants.

Atteone deer (16th Century) by Francesco Mazzola, ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Diana al bagno nella fonte
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Therefore te goddess is angry with him and turns him into a deer by using the water of the fountain.

The death of Atteone deer (16th Century) by Francesco Mazzola, ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

La morte di Atteone
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The dogs don't recognize him and kill him.

The room of Diana and Atteone, Paola Gonzaga (16th Century)Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

La figura femminile
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To complete the fresco, a woman who brings a tray and some ears of wheat.

The vault- General view (16th Century) by Francesco Mazzola, ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

La volta
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At the top, in the vault, the sky is painted with a mirror in the centre and the inscription "Respice finem".

La scritta latina
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Sotto l'affresco corre una cornice in legno laccato e bordato d'oro contenente una scritta in latino, che contribuisce a completare l'affresco ed a fornire elementi per la sua interpretazione.

Under the painting there is a latin inscription dedicated to Diana. The inscription helps in understanding the whole picture.

The greyhound (16th Century)Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

L'arte di Parmigianino
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Parmigianino painted the vault in 40 days, just with the light of candles, which is something exceptional!

The two Nymphs (16th Century) by Francesco Mazzola, ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

La tecnica
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He painted using the "fresco technique": a first layer of lime, then the drawing and at the end the painting.

Detail of the Fresco "Saletta of Diana and Acteon" by ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Here's a detail of the frescoed putto.

See the brushstrokes.

And the delicate expressions.

The children (16th Century)Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

La bambina e i suoi occhi magnetici
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The room still raises some questions: the girl always looks at the people in all parts of the room, so what does this mean?

Atteone deer (16th Century) by Francesco Mazzola, ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Volti e sguardi
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All the looks of the protagonists, of the dogs and of the putti don't cross the looks of the others. This increases the mystery. What is the real meaning of this room?

The dogs (16th Century)Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Dettagli misteriosi
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Only one of the dogs looks straight at the door, as to frighten those who enter. But for what reason?

Paola Gonzaga (16th Century) by Francesco Mazzola, ParmigianinoRocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Figure enigmatiche
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The story painted by Parmigianino closes with two mysterious figures, an old man and a young boy. Who will be able to understand the true symbolic meaning?

The room of Diana and Atteone, Paola Gonzaga (16th Century)Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato

Ritratti affascinanti
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It is said that the wonderful woman portrayed by Parmigianino was one of the countesses of the Sanvitale family. How should we interpret her presence in the fresco? There are still many open questions and many reasons to visit with curious eyes the Room of Diana and Acteon.

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