(Antonio Allegri) (c. 1489-1534).
Italian painter, named after the small town in Emilia where he was born.
Little is known of his life, but his paintings suggest under whom he may
have formed his style. Echoes of
manner in many of his early paintings indicate that he may have studied
that master's work in Mantua, and he was influenced in these works also by
Lorenzo Costa and
adopting Costa's pearly Ferrarese coloring and, in the St John of the
altarpiece (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, 1514), his first documented work,
Leonardo's characteristic gesture of the pointing finger. Later he
initiated a style of sentimental elegance and conscious allure with soft
and gestures of captivating charm.
Correggio may well have visited Rome early in his career, although
maintains that he never went there and the obvious inspiration of the
could be accounted for by drawings and prints which were known all over Italy.
He was probably in Parma, the scene of his greatest activity, by 1518.
His first large-scale commission there was for the decoration of the
abbess's room in the convent of S. Paolo. The theme of the decorations
is Diana, goddess of chastity and the chase, and the vaulted ceiling uses
Mantegna's idea of a leafy trellis framing
and symbols of the hunt. The S. Paolo ceiling was followed by two dome
paintings in which Correggio developed the
conception already used by Mantegna of depicting a scene as though
it were actually taking place in the sky above
(sotto in su).
The first of these domes was commissioned for the church of S. Giovanni
Evangelista in 1520. The twelve Apostles sit on clouds round the base, while
Christ is shown in sharp foreshortening ascending to heaven.
In the commission six years later for an
Assumption of the Virgin
in the dome of Parma Cathedral he used the same principle, but on a much
larger scale and with still more daring foreshortening. These works reveal
Correggio as one of the boldest and most inventive artists of the
and they were highly influential on the development of
dome painting (one of the most important successors,
was a native of Parma).