During the reign of Charles III of Bourbon Parma (1849-1854), Duke of Parma after the death of Maria Luigia, a section of this palace was converted into his private residence, replacing the Petitot decoration with the current wooden roof. This was meant to be a Salon de Compagnie, but the work was interrupted when Charles III was stabbed to death.
The room is now named after the painter and engraver Paolo Toschi (1788-1854), a leading exponent of Parma cultural life in the first half of the XIX century. He refined his engraving and etching skills in Paris, where he befriended many artists, including Ingres, Prud’hon and Gérard. He flanked Antonio Canova in working for the recovery of the works of art Napoleon had removed from Parma, including the works of Correggio, a painter he deeply loved and studied all his life.
On his return to Italy in 1819 he was appointed Director of the local Academy of Fine Arts by Maria Luigia, a role he maintained until his death. He also founded a renowned school for engravers, proving himself an able businessman and a proficient teacher.
He was in contact with artists all over Europe and had a strong connection with ‘Romantic’ artists in Milan, such as Giuseppe Molteni, author of the large portrait of Paolo Toschi here displayed. Works by Toschi himself, by some of his pupils (such as Raimondi, Dalcò, Callegari) and other local artists (Drugman, Boccaccio, Carmignani, Pasini) also hang on the walls. The unfinished copperplate representing Correggio’s masterpiece, La Madonna del San Girolamo, was his last tribute to the Renaissance masters active in Parma he so much admired: Correggio and Parmigianino.
The showcases display a collection of miniatures from past centuries, a rare example of a work created by the famous typographer Giambattista Bodoni on the occasion of the birth of Napoleon’s son given the title “King of Rome”, the portraits of the last sovereigns of Parma, Duke Charles III and his family, and a precious collection of daguerrotypes, amongst which the only existing photographic image of Marie Louise, taken in her last years, and of her successor Charles III.