Parmigianino, The Entombment, an etching

Italy, around AD 1530

In the manner of a drawing

Before moving to Rome in 1524, the young Parmigianino (1503/4-40) had received important public commissions in his native Parma. Once in Rome he collaborated with specialists, such as Ugo da Carpi, to produce engravings and woodcuts that captured the movement and drama of his figure drawings.

After moving to Bologna in 1527, he experimented with the new technique of etching to find a style that reproduced the personal refinement of his drawings. This Entombment represents his greatest success. Many Italian painters who sought an autograph method for replicating their drawings adopted its technique.

The image is as much an exercise in virtuoso etching as it is a religious image. Parmigianino had spoiled an earlier version of the plate in the acid bath, and now he is drawing rapidly and confidently, constantly improving on his previous strokes and composition. In the first plate, the crown of thorns lay on the ground in front of the tomb. Now it is held over Christ's head like a victor's wreath. The graceful movements of the women turning towards or away from the light, and the virtuoso draughtsmanship of the artist, confer on the work a self-conscious style, or maniera, much admired in the Italian courts. Our label 'Mannerism' for the art of this period comes from an appreciation of this stylishness.

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More information


D. Landau and P. Parshall, The Renaissance print 1470-155 (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1994)


Height: 331.000 mm
Width: 240.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1835-7-11-28 (Bartsch XVI, 8.5)



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