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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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.