• CORREGGIO, Antoino
    probaly 1489-1534


  • Antonio Correggio worked mostly in Parma in a style that looks forward to the Baroque and even, in its softness, to the French 18th century (cf. Venus, Mercury, and Cupid, London, NG). His earliest works show the combined influences, oddly disparate, of Mantegna, whose pupil he traditionally was, and of Leonardo (who influenced most early 16th-century painters in N. Italy). From Leonardo he developed a very soft painterly style, extolled by 18th-century critics as morbidezza, or the 'Corregiosity of Correggio'. This softness, which in works like the Sts Placid and Flavia (Parma) is allied to a virtually Baroque movement and emotion, is characteristic of all his oil-paintings and achieves in his mythologies a tender and voluptuous quality.

    His frescoes show so much of the influence of Michelangelo and Raphael as to make a visit to Rome before 1520 fairly certain. He is first documented as a painter in 1514, and his first set of frescoes was painted about 1518: these are the decorations in the Camera di S. Paolo, Parma, which derive partly from the sotto in su perspective of Mantegna's Mantuan frescoes and his Madonna della Vittoria, and partly from Leonardo. His major frescoes in Parma are the cupolas of S. Giovanni Evangelista (1520-23) and the Cathedral (documented from 1522, but probaly executed 1526-30). Both these have extremely illusionistic effects as seen from below, and anticipate the ceilings and domes of the 17th century, particularly those of Lanfranco. The dome of the Cathedral, representing the Assumption, is composed of ascending concentric circles of flying figures and is said to have been described unkindly (but not altogether unreasonably) by one of the canons as 'a hash of frogs' legs'.

    Apart from Parma, there are no other frescoes, but there are fresco fragments in London (NG), and oil-paintings in the Royal Coll. and Berlin, Boston (Gardner), Budapest, Chicago, Detroit, Dresden, Florence (Uffizi), Frankfurt (Stadel), London (NG, Wellington Mus., Courtauld Inst.), Los Angeles, Madrid (Prado, Scad.), Milan (Brera, Mus. Civico), Modena, Naples, New York (Met. Mus.), Paris (Louvre), Philadelphia (Johnson), Pavia, Rome (Birghese), Vienna and Washington (NG).

  • Source: The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists (Penguin Reference Books)

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