Getty Wins a Parmigianino

The Art Newspaper is reporting that the Getty has won its nine-month-long bid to acquire Parmigianino's Virgin with Child, St. John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene (1530s) for the equivalent of $30 million. No UK institution was willing to match the Getty's offer, and an export license is to be granted.

It's the most important Italian Renaissance painting to enter an American museum collection in over a decade. The Getty's last comparable purchase, a great Titian portrait, was in 2003. The following year the Metropolitan Museum added a tiny Duccio Madonna.

The Kimbell Art Museum made headlines in 2007 by buying a small painting that is credibly identified as the 12-year-old Michelangelo's copy of a Schongauer print, described by Vasari as the artist's first painting. It's jaw-dropping that any American museum could ever own a Michelangelo painting. Still, the Kimbell Torment of Saint Anthony is not a great Michelangelo. If MoMA owned a painted copy of a Manet etching by the 12-year-old Picasso, it wouldn't have it on permanent display. The Getty Virgin with Child is Parmigianino at the top of his form.


Zack said…
What a beautiful painting - thrilled that its new home is in our city!
Anonymous said…
The Getty paid a similar price ($22.5 million) for The Holy Family by Bartolommeo back in 1996. By comparison, this is a bargain.
Anonymous said…
I'm more intrigued and impressed by the Michelangelo at the Kimball than I am by the Parmigianino at the Getty. Or soon to be there.

Not happy to say that since the Getty is a local trip to me compared with the long distance to Fort Worth.

Something about the pinkish colors and the roundish, moon face of Mary look cheesy to me. Not cheesy to the degree of Thomas-Kinkade cheesiness, but also not way above and beyond that.

Still, obviously better to have the artwork at the Getty than not.
The Dreamer said…
The Michelangelo at the Kimball is certainly intriguing. I'm wondering if any other museums put in bids since his paintings are rarely found on the market?

I always thought of the Getty as valuing quality over quantity. Even though it's the world's richest museum, the Getty seems to only buy one painting every one of two years. I understand they're trying to make their money last, but they should start acquiring more. It's a shame the Getty only has one Van Gogh (although it's a great one) and no Picasso's.
Anonymous said…
I think ~1900 is the museum cut-off year, so they're not likely to acquire a Picasso. It seems only fairly recently that the Getty started valueing quality over quantity. Barry Munitz needed to be ousted before the museum started to collect smartly. I'd rather see 2 incredible acquisitions a year over quantity. There's still a lot of terrible art on their walls that they need to replace.