Holy family with an angel

Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli (1500-1569)
16th century, oil on canvas

The painter Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli was related through marriage to the more famous Francesco Mazzola (1503-1540), known as Il Parmigianino (1503-1540), whose cousin Caterina Elena (daughter of Pier Ilario, Francesco’s uncle) he married in 1529, taking her surname in the process. The painting shows the Madonna in the middle, dressed with a sumptuous pink and green dress and holding up

a Child with a sculptural, almost adult body: a tree, bushes and the landscape are in the background. The tablet in question reveals Girolamo’s ability to mimic a Holy Family executed by Il Parmigianino for the Pope: in fact throughout his lifetime, Bedoli attempted to equal his more famous relative, at times simplifying and distorting the figures as a result of the limits involved in the literal imitation process.