- Museum number
Head of St John the Baptist, after Parmigianino; turned to right, looking to front
Black and red chalk, heightened with white (partly oxidised), on grey-brown prepared paper
- Production date
Height: 391 millimetres
Width: 256 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Copy after the head of St John from the 'Vision of St Jerome', National Gallery, London. As Popham rightly noted, the price fetched by the drawing in the 1860 Lawrence-Woodburn was higher than any by Michelangelo and was exceeded only by works by Raphael.
Though its correspondence with the head of St. John in Parmigianino's National Gallery 'Vision of St. Jerome' was noted in the catalogue of the Lawrence Gallery, this drawing was there attributed to Correggio and described as a "magnificent study . . . exactly copied" by Parmigianino. This description was repeated in the catalogue of the Lawrence-Woodburn sale and must have been found generally convincing, to judge from the exceptionally high price fetched by the drawing. In the note to the publication of British Museum facsimiles (unsigned, but presumably by Sidney Colvin) the drawing was attributed to Parmigianino himself. It cannot, however, be anything more than an excellent copy of the head in the picture (perhaps by Barocci, as Bodmer was the first to suggest).
Cordellier has drawn into question the attribution of this drawing as a copy after Parmigianino by Barocci, drawing parralels with Parmigianino's colour studies of heads of children located in Vienna (Albertina, Inv. 2615) and Paris (Ecole nationale superieure des Beaux-Arts, Inv. 234). Cordellier suggested that the drawing may have served as an auxiliary cartoon for the figure of Saint John and that it may be based upon Parmigianino's own likeness.
Literature: Lawrence Gallery, no. 71; Reproductions of Drawings by Old Masters in the British Museum, part i, 1888, no. 22; Popham, Correggio, Cat. a 52; D. Cordellier (ed.), Parmigianino: Dessins du Louvre, 2015, p.15, fig.3
This drawing was issued as a coloured facsimile by the British Museum in 'Reproductions of Drawings by Old Masters in the British Museum', Part I, Published by the Trustees, in 1888 where it was number XXII and described there as 'Francesco Mazzuoli, called Il Parmegiano, Head of St John the Baptist.'
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number