• Walking

ART TREKKING IN ROME: from the Trajan Markets to the 1500's Parma art

The "Wink of Rome" continues its urban and artistic tour in the Capital. The second stage takes us at the Quirinale Museum, to gaze at the works of Correggio and Parmigianino.

Veronica Piraccini

ART TREKKING IN ROME: from the Trajan Markets to the 1500's Parma art

Our artistic trekking through the wonders of Rome continues...

Leaving the Exhibition Palace (see here "From the Diocletian’s bath to Botero” first stage) you continue walking down on Via Nazionale, to live an urban trek that shows in front of us, right from the first decade of the II century, the wonderful architectural complex of the Trajan Markets built by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus.
The Markets have the Esedra’s semicircular shape and host a magnificent museum, with great value exhibits of the Imperial Forum as well as interesting contemporary exhibitions.

The Markets raise in front of the majestic Trajan's Column, pure Roman art, built to glorify the victories of the Emperor Trajan, created by artists on the eternal compact and very white Parian marble two thousand years ago. It’s 40 meters high, with a diameter of almost 4 meters, the column was erected in 113 A.D. as a monument to celebrate the Emperor in its conquests in Dacia.

Absolutely amazing is the level of art quality: carved into a continuous upward spiral movement, we can notice a multitude of shapes: soldiers, Romans and Barbarians who carry out enterprises in rivers, seas, ships and countryside. An absolute perfection even for its technical engineering, never realized before. At the top of the column today you can admire St. Peter holding the keys of the Holy Roman Church and the Cross.

On the road leading to Piazza Venezia and its famous “Altare della Patria”, our art trekking moves in Via XXIV Maggio. Here we meet the Quirinale Museum, fronted by the impressive historic Palace of Quirinale, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic. The Palace was built in 1583 and designed by Domenico Fontana as a papal residence, then it became the residence of the Kings of Italy since 1870 and, after the proclamation of the Italian Republic in 1946, the residence of the President of the Republic.

The Quirinale Museum is close to the wall that closes the Colonna garden and is based on the remains, still partly visible, of the magnificent Roman temple of Serapis. Wanted by Pope Innocent XIII, after being the warehouse of carriages, horses and then cars, the Stables (the name of the museum is ‘Scuderie del Quirinale’, which in Italian means Quirinale’s Stables) are now home to splendid art exhibitions since 1999.

Here, since last March, opened a prestigious Italian art exhibition: "Correggio and Parmigianino. Art in Parma in 1500s", edited by David Ekserdjian, which will be open until June 26th.


The exhibition brings together a selection of masterpieces coming from the most important museums in the world, comparing the works of two absolute ‘stars’ of the Italian Renaissance: Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio (1489-1534) and Francesco Mazzola, called Parmigianino (1503- 1540).
A good way to highlight how the great Renaissance art has not affected only big 'capital' such as Florence, Rome and Venice, but also the Parma area, and this is thanks to the formidable talent of these two artists.

Once entered the Museum, the fascinating bended and large scale strikes (with very low steps, suitable for horses in the past) that leads us gently to begin the exhibition.

We are breathless: the impressive paintings of Parmigianino, Santa Cecilia and David (preserved in the Basilica of Santa Maria della Steccata in Parma), on canvas and organ doors, at least 6 meters high, which leave stunned by the magnificence of the painting, even more accentuated by the comparison with the close by tiny paintings by the same artist.

Correggio arrived in Parma at the peak of his career and he remained there for the rest of his life while the younger Parmigianino, who worked in Rome and Bologna, was born in Parma and it has been influenced by it, even if he travelled a lot. The two artists have different styles but they form a single trend that was the heart of the School of Parma.

They differ because Correggio is driven by an emotional sensibility that he transposes in portraits and religious subjects, which even in the drama are taken sometimes to the sensuality of ecstasy, as in The Martyrdom of four Saints. Even in mythological works, like Venus with Mercury and Cupid or Danae we have the light chalking and soft contrasts of the bodies’ soft colors.

Parmigianino is different, he has a refined and mental style, he deals with mythological and religious figures, as well as portraits, with compact and translucent shapes, stretched and shiny, with an almost metaphysical suspension. A famous example is the Turkish Slave portrait, but also Athena, bright with the emerald green bodice that emphasize the bright paintings. Then the Madonna of San Zaccaria and the extraordinary work of the Conversion of St. Paul, with the charm of the elongated formal invention of the horse and the Holy.

Fine and with an intense face, finally, the portrait of the young Antea, in an asymmetrical pose, with the special "fashion" detail represented by the mink resting on her shoulder and a single glove in her right hand.


The exhibition shows in total about one hundred works, and besides those already described of the two masters, you can admire rare paintings from private collections of the School of Parma, artists of the same period and geographical area: Anselmi, Rondani, Mazzola Bedoli, Gandini del Grano.

A beautiful exhibition, to be visited very carefully, because the works of the several artists are alternated with each other in a complex way, highlight the differences but not enhancing overall the style’s peculiarities of each one.

It is still recognizable the extraordinary impact of the works - small and large - by Correggio and Parmigianino and the undoubted value of the exposure, which through art immerses the visitor in the Parma climate of the time, so perfectly detailed.