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A Youth Leading a Donkey in a LandscapeEnlarge image

A Youth Leading a Donkey in a Landscape, 1535

Parmigianino
Italian, 1503 - 1540
pen and brown ink heightened with white on laid paper
19.5 x 19.1 cm
Purchased 2002 with the support of patrons from The Circle of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, Mercredis culturels of the Volunteer Circle of the National Gallery of Canada, and an anonymous donor
National Gallery of Canada (no. 40992)

The subject of the drawing is enigmatic, but it may illustrate the story of the Good Samaritan. As Parmigianino tended to move between sacred and profane themes with an unusual disregard for convention, however, it is not always easy to identify images like this one with much confidence. The placement of the protagonist in a raking light for dramatic potential might indicate that the artist was intending one of those resonant night scenes he preferred for his paintings, celebrated for a grace and elegance said by contemporaries to rival those of Raphael.

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