The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca” at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor: July 26-October 5, 2014

Parmigianino, "La Schiava Turca", c. 1533

Francesco Mazzola, known as Parmigianino, Portrait of a Young Woman, called” Schiava Turca”, ca. 1532. Oil on panel. Galleria Nazionale di Parma. Photograph © Ministry of National Heritage, Culture, and Tourism

If you happen to be in the San Francisco area and are a Parmigianino and Mannerism fan, you won’t want to miss this special loan exhibition of the Schiava Turca (Turkish Slave) painting on view at the Legion of Honor Fine Art Museum in San Francisco, July 26-October 5, 2014. The painting’s title derives from the misinterpretation of the woman’s headwear as a turban. It is in fact a typical headdress worn by noblewomen of the era, with examples appearing in numerous contemporary portraits.

The work was in the Uffizi Gallery until 1928, when it was exchanged for two 13th century panels and a portrait thought to be of Philip, Duke of Parma by Giuseppe Baldrighi and later recognized as a self-portrait. It had arrived in Florence through Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici, who owned it as early as 1675 and left it to the Medici Cabinet after his death. It is mentioned in the Uffizi inventories of 1704 and 1890, being listed in the latter as “Portrait of a Young Woman with a turban on her head, with the left she holds a plume, by Parmigianino’s hand”.

The work was restored in 1968, at which time the dark background was removed and a uniform, earth-like color was discovered. The intervention, however, has been criticized, since several art historian consider the black background as a later intervention by Parmigianino himself. (Source: Wikipedia)

The painting is graciously on loan from the Galleria Nazionale di Parma (Parma, Italy) and provides a rare opportunity for viewing Parmigianino’s masterpiece, the Schiava Turca (ca. 1531–1534). Heralded as an originator of Mannerism, Parmigianino developed an expressive style with elongated forms that was also indebted to the work of Raphael and Michelangelo. The title, which translates to “Turkish slave,” derives from the subject’s elegant balzo, a fashionable headdress worn by elite Northern Italian women, which was later mistaken for a turban. The Legion of Honor displays this painting following its exhibition at The Frick Collection, New York. For more information about Parmigianino, see the Legion of Honor website.

A full day of events are planned at the Legion of Honor on July 26:

Noon-1:30 pm: Chamber Music (Please note: Seating is extremely limited and based on a first-come, first-serve basis.)
2 pm: Guest Curator Lecture by Aimee Ng (see below)
3:30 pm: Exhibition viewing of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca”
4-5 pm: Private reception

Sign up for events here.

Guest Lecture: A Renaissance Mystery Woman: The Poetry of Parmigianino’s ‘Schiava Turca’, by Aimee Ng

July 26, 2014 – 2:00pm
Florence Gould TheaterA Renaissance Mystery Woman: The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca” by Aimee Ng, Research Associate at The Frick Collection and Lecturer in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.

This event is free after museum general admission. Seating is limited and first come, first served.

The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca” is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and The Frick Collection in collaboration with the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture (FIAC). This presentation at the Legion of Honor is made possible by a lead sponsorship from the Frances K. and Charles D. Field Foundation, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Field, for which the Fine Arts Museums are most grateful.

Public Programs
(415) 750-7694

The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca”

The Legion of Honor
Lincoln Park at 100 34th Avenue (at Clement Street), San Francisco, CA
T 415.750.3600

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 9:30 am to 5:15 pm
Closed Mondays

Adults    $10
Seniors 65+    $7
Youths 13–17    $6
College Students with valid ID    $6
Children 12 and under: Free
First Tuesday of the month: Free (special exhibition fees still apply)
FAMSF Members: Free
General admission to the Legion of Honor is free for all veterans and active military personnel with military ID on Veterans Day.

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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