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A Rare Opportunity to See a Italian Renaissance Masterpiece

For their newest exhibition opening this Saturday, the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco presents a rare opportunity to check out an Italian masterpiece.

The exhibition is titled The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca”, and it consists of the 16th century masterpiece, which has been regarded as an originator of Mannerism (a period in European Art known for approaches to intellectual sophistication). In the painting, the subject is an unknown young noblewoman, dressed in an indigo blue dress, with an elegant headdress that was mistaken for a turban, thus bringing on the assumption that the woman was a Turkish slave, hence the title of the painting, as well as its Italian meaning being that it was “schiava turca”. The headdress was really a fashion accessory once popular with Northern Italian women. The painting was also titled Portrait of a Lady (not to be confused with the Henry James novel of the same name).

In a little information about Parmigianino, he was one of the celebrated painters in 16th century Italy, known for developing an expressive and personalized style into his works. And as an originator of Mannerism, his works were described as an opposition to the naturalistic styles established by earlier Renaissance painters including Michelangelo, Raphael or Leonardo da Vinci. One of his other famous paintings includes Madonna with the Long Neck (1534-40). Parmigianino died in 1540 at the age of 37.

The exhibition has been made possible by a loan from the Galleria nazionale de Parma, which holds a large collection of Italian Renaissance works from artists, including along with Parmigianino, Tintoretto, Leonardo de Vinci and Correggio. The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schaiva Turca” is on view until October 5th. Log on to for more information.

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