Correggio brilliant Italian master of painting

Correggio Virgin, Adoration of the Child
Virgin, Adoration of the Child.

Correggio is a brilliant Italian master of painting, who glorified the name of his native city all over the world with his nickname

Correggio (August 1489 – March 5, 1534) – the famous Italian artist of the first half of the 16th century, an outstanding representative of the painting of the High Renaissance. He was famous for painting religious and mythological paintings, as well as skillful allegories and portraits. The characteristic features of the master’s work are the exquisite eroticism of the characters and the effective use of chiaroscuro.

Correggio, according to contemporaries, was a very reserved person and did not recruit students into his workshop.

Correggio Adoration of the Magi
Adoration of the Magi.

Biography

Correggio was born in the family of a hereditary merchant in the city, after whom he later received his famous nickname.
At the age of 17, the young man left for Mantua, where the famous painter Andrea Mantegna lived and worked. But soon after Allegri’s arrival, the experienced master died and Antonio had to get a job as an apprentice to his eldest son Francesco. For four years he lived in Mantua. In 1510 he returned to Correggio, where he began an independent career as an artist.

Correggio Madonna della Scala
Madonna della Scala.

Antonio took up painting and decorating altars for temples. He enjoyed the special favor of the poetess Veronica Gambara. She was the wife of the local ruler, Count Gilberto da Correggio, and received well-paid orders from her.

In 1516 the artist moved to Parma. The first serious project was the painting of the “Abbess’s Chamber” of the local convent of Giovanna Piacenza. While working on a large-scale fresco, Correggio traveled several times to Rome and Milan.

Correggio Allegory of vices
Allegory of vices

Works on the design of temples and basilicas

Immediately after the completion of the painting of the “Abbess’s Chamber”, Correggio received a new large order. He was commissioned to lead the interior decoration of the basilica of the abbey of St. John the Evangelist. The ingenious painter brilliantly coped with the difficult task, decorating the apse and dome of the building with magnificent paintings.

Vision of John on the Isle of Patmos
Vision of John on the Isle of Patmos.

In 1522, Correggio created the frescoes “Assumption of the Blessed Virgin” for the central Catholic Cathedral of Parma. This project was completed in 1530 and marked the height of the great master’s career.

Commissioned by Duke Federico II Gonzaga of Mantua, the master created a cycle of paintings dedicated to the ancient Roman god Jupiter (“Leda and the Swan”, “Danaë”, “The Abduction of Ganymede” and “Jupiter and Io”). And to decorate the office of the ruler’s wife, Isabella d’Este, he painted two large-scale masterpieces “The Allegory of Vice” and “The Allegory of Virtue”.

Design for ceiling fresco
Design for ceiling fresco.
Artist’s personal life

In 1519, he married Girolama Francesca di Bragetis, who died 10 years after the wedding. It has also been established that in this marriage the artist had at least one child – the son of Pomponio.

The life of the brilliant Italian painter ended suddenly, and the causes of his death have not yet been established. On March 5, 1534, Correggio died suddenly at the age of 44, shortly after moving to his native city from Parma for permanent residence. And the exact location of the artist’s grave remains a mystery to historians today.

Frescoes in the monastery of St. Paul in Parma
Frescoes in the monastery of St. Paul in Parma.
Dormition of the Mother of God, vault of the cathedral.
Dormition of the Mother of God, vault of the cathedral
Nativity with Saint Elizabeth and little John the Baptist
Nativity with Saint Elizabeth and little John the Baptist.
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