C = Correggio


Early self portrait of Correggio

Remember to click on the artwork to see it clearly in an enlarged format!

Antonio Allegri da Correggio (1489 –1534) or Correggio was the foremost painter of the Parma school of the Italian Renaissance.  He is known for dynamic composition, perspective, and dramatic foreshortening, and his art is considered to have influenced both Baroque and Rococo artists in the 18th century.  I’ve chosen paintings from his prolific output to illustrate the development of his style.


Entombment of Christ, a tondo

Correggio’s early artistic education was with his uncle, the painter Lorenze Allegri, a muralist of moderate ability, but in 1502 he was apprenticed to Francesco Bianchi Ferrara of Modena, whose works were much esteemed at the time. It is in the studio of Bianchi Ferrara that Correggio was introduced classicism in art.  He left Modena and arrived in Mantua sometime before the death of the famous early Renaissance painter Mantegna, in 1506.  Tradition has it that he completed the decoration of Mantegna’s family chapel after the artist’s death. Two round paintings or tondi, the Entombment of Christ and Madonna and Saints are by the young Correggio.

Adoration of the Child with St. Elizabeth and John

Adoration of the Child with St. Elizabeth and John

He returned to Correggio where he stayed until 1510, and during this time painted  Adoration of the Child with St. Elizabeth and John, which shows the influence of Mantegna’s perspective and the maturation of his own style.  Corregio was clearly influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, a towering presence in the painters of northern Italy, because of his use of chiaroscuro, the name for a technique and manipulates light and shade to create a softness in a contour and an atmospheric effect (Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine).  He also visited Rome, where he would have seen, and possibly been influenced by, the Vatican frescoes of Michelangelo and Raphael.

Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine

Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine

Correggio divided his time largely between Parma and his hometown. His first documented painting, an altarpiece of the Madonna of St. Francis, was commissioned for San Francesco in Correggio in 1514 .

Madonna of St. Francis, 1514

Madonna of St. Francis, 1514

His artistic output was so prodigious, I can only introduce a few works, for example, the dome of the Cathedral of Parma with its Assumption of the Virgin, crowded with layers of receding figures  The massing of spectators in a vortex and its upward perspective were at the time without precedent and presaged the dynamism seen in Baroque painting.

Assumption of the Virgin, Dome of the Cathedral of Parma

Assumption of the Virgin, Dome of the Cathedral of Parma


Aside from his religious themes, which were many, Correggio also created a voluptuous series of paintings depicting the Loves of Jupiter as described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, one of the most famous being Jupiter and Io.

Jupitor and Io

Jupitor and Io

Correggio died in the town of the same name in 1534.  He was remembered as melancholic and introverted, enigmatic and eclectic.  He had no major apprenticeship in his background nor did he have any little immediate influence in terms of apprenticed successors.  Nevertheless, his experiments in illusion, in which imaginary spaces replace the natural reality, seem to prefigure many elements of Mannerist and Baroque style of painting. approaches more than a century later.

Older Correggio

Older Correggio


7 thoughts on “C = Correggio

  1. I’m so illiterate when it comes to artistic terms that I had to google foreshortening. Still, I’m learning a lot from this, which is the main thing. The Jupiter and Io painting is my favorite of the ones you’ve showcased here. Thanks so much!

  2. Scriblet

    I love coming here because I learn something each time I visit. I’m behind on following your A-Z postings but not for long! I’m looking forward to coming home after work today and reading about some artists.

    Happy A-Zed’ing!

  3. Noelle, I absolutely love what you’re doing this month. Can’t begin to tell you how much I like and admire these artists, wish I had a tiny, tiny bit of their talent and forward thinking. Will have to return and spend a lot more time here, reading and re-reading these posts. Thank you!

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