Magic at the Museum: The Madonna

The next character from Magic at the Museum that I want to introduce you to is the Madonna. She comes from a painting of the Virgin and Child by Parmigianino, painted between 1524 and 1527. He painted it when he was staying in Rome, and the classical building in the background might be a references to the ruins of ancient Rome.

This painting is unfinished,and is quite sketchy, especially in the bottom right corner, where you can see his sepia sketches. The brown sections of the Madonna's skirt are unfinished; Parmiginanino intended them to be blue. I left them brown on my character to stay true to the painting as it is, not as it was intended.

He wanted this painting to be perfect. This perfectionism led him to procrastinate to such a degree that he never finished the painting and was imprisoned for breach of contract.

The Madonna in this painting has incredibly long legs, arms and neck. If she were real, she would probably be over 6 feet tall (rather like the exaggerated proportions of Alexandre who was painted 3 centuries later). This is due to the Renaissance Mannerist  movement. Mannerist paintings are known for elongated forms, precariously balanced poses, a collapsed perspective, irrational settings, and theatrical lighting. It was a challenge to maintain those distortions when drawing the Madonna, for I always wanted to "correct" them!

The Madonna and Alexandre make a pair. They both have exaggerated proportions that make them unnaturally tall.