Drawings and prints

Foglio della raccolta Ortalli, incisioni d’apres Parmigianino

The Library possesses an extraordinary treasure of graphical material organized mainly in three collections.


The Ortalli collection

The first and most significant graphic collection of the Library was purchased under Angelo Pezzana's long directorship (1804-1862). On 23 April 1828 Maria Luigia signed the decree  assigning the print collection belonging to Massimiliano Ortalli to the Library. This collection had previously been purchased the the Academy of Arts by its Director, Paolo Toschi,  for 45000 new lire. The following year Paolo Toschi sold the collection to the Sovereign Maria Luigia for the same amount with Ortalli's consent. Maria Luigia destined it to the Library and not to the Academy because she wished it to be consulted by the citizens and not only the artists of Parma. 

Thus a public collection of graphic material was founded and the local government kept it constantly under control requiring it to be catalogued.

This collection is exceptional both for its richness and  classification criteria and possesses  therefore an enormous didactic value. Its significance goes far beyond the value of each drawing or print. It comprises the first niellos of Antonio Pollaiolo, specimina by Dürer, Luke of Leiden, Marcantonio Raimondi, Parmigianino, Salvator Rosa, Jacques Callot, Rembrandt and Tiepolo. The drawings are distributed on large folio leaves bound in volumes: new themes, their imitations and variants.


Parmense collection

The Balestra collection consisting of 1067 items and purchased in 1838 was at the core of the Parmense collection of graphic material. It was successively augmented by further acquisitions and is still open. AngeloPezzana's aim was to complete Ortalli's collection by adding missing engravings or buying duplicates of a better quality or condition.


Palatine collection

When it was purchased for the Library from the Bourbon Parma family in 1865 this collection comprised 379 engravings and 330 lithographies.


Noteworthy are also the Micheli Mariotti collection, the Portrait collection and the Mossini donation (36 engravings given to the Library by the Parma artist Ettore Mossini in 1997).