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Summary Article: Correggio (c. 1494–1534)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Italian painter of the High Renaissance. His style followed the classical grandeur of Leonardo da Vinci and Titian, but anticipated the baroque in its emphasis on movement, softer forms, and contrasts of light and shade.

Based in Parma, he painted splendid illusionistic visions in the cathedral there, including the remarkable Assumption of the Virgin (1526–30). His religious paintings, for example, the night scene Adoration of the Shepherds (about 1527–30, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden), and mythological scenes, such as Jupiter and Io (about 1532, Wallace Collection, London), were much admired in the 18th century.

He studied as a boy in the studio of Bianchi Ferrari at Modena and at Mantua with Mantegna, though temperamentally he was less in sympathy with that master than with Leonardo, whose influence is to be seen in Correggio's subtly gradated chiaroscuro. His time was divided in the main between Parma and his native town, but there is a strong presumption that he visited Rome and that the great frescoes of Michelangelo and Raphael inspired him with a new vigour and audacity apparent in the series of frescoes he undertook at Parma. Those in the Camera di San Paolo (the chamber of the abbess) in the monastery of St Lodovico (1518) were the earliest, but the Assumption of Christ for the cupola of San Giovanni (1520–23) and the Assumption of the Virgin for the cathedral (1526–30), which won the highest praise from Titian, show his full capacity. In his powerful and theatrically audacious grouping of a host of figures he anticipates the baroque methods of church decoration. As an oil painter of both religious and mythological subjects he perfected a rich technique, and famous examples are the Nativity (Dresden), Ecce Homo and Mercury instructing Cupid (National Gallery), the Marriage of St Catherine and Jupiter and Antiope (Louvre), Jupiter and Io (Vienna) and Danae (Rome). In the pagan subjects especially there appears a sensuous charm and softness of modelling, another aspect of the genius which provided a model for the artists of the Counter-Reformation.

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