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Correggio

Correggio (kərĕjˈō) [key], c.1494–1534, Italian painter, whose real name was Antonio Allegri, called Correggio for his birthplace. He learned the rudiments of art from his uncle Lorenzo Allegri. His early works were greatly influenced by the divergent styles of Mantegna and Leonardo da Vinci, as evidenced in the Marriage of St. Catherine (National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.) and Madonna of St. Francis (Dresden). Correggio's first important commission (1518) was the decoration of the convent of San Paolo at Parma. He handled the erudite allegorical program with exuberance. Depicting an impressive array of gods in the lunettes, he added a group of capricious putti (male infants) to the dome. Correggio painted many other mythological scenes including the sensual Io (Vienna); Danae (Borghese Gall., Rome); and Antiope (Louvre). In 1520 he began to fresco the dome of St. John the Evangelist, Parma, with the Ascension of Christ. A few years later he was working on his most famous project, Assumption of the Virgin, in the dome of the cathedral in Parma. The Virgin is encircled by an elaborate network of apostles, patriarchs, and saints, all emerging from the clouds. Correggio used daring foreshortening in his execution of the figures. His illusionistic ceiling decorations and his sensual, mythological paintings were tremendously influential on baroque artists. Pervaded by a sense of grace and tenderness, his paintings are characterized by their soft play of light and color. Other famous works are Madonna of St. Jerome (Parma), Adoration of the Child (Uffizi), and Madonna and Saints (Philadelphia Mus.).

See his frescoes, ed. by A. Q. Ghidiglia (1964); D. DeGrazia, Correggio and His Legacy (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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