Antonio da Correggio

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Antonio da Correggio Photo

Considered by many to be one of the most significant Old Masters of the Parma School of the Italian High Renaissance, Antonio de Correggio is a pioneer of illusionary art. Correggio has produced some of the most scintillating and sensuous works to come out of the 16th century.  He was strongly influenced by the greats including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Andrea Mantegna. Correggio has also sketched some of the best works of the Renaissance. His use of different compositions and intense foreshortening made him a master of three dimensionality in his paintings, which was a rarity to achieve during that era. It is with great certainty that many state that there existed no better colorist who was able to convey such soft beauty and liveliness to his works than Correggio.

Antonio Allegri was born in 1489 in Correggio, Italy into a large and poor family, his father was a merchant. There exists very little record of his earlier life except that he initially apprenticed with Francesco Bianchi Ferrera of Modena. Correggio’s earlier works include pieces he did for altars and small scale panels for churches and monasteries. Soon he started experimenting with wall paintings and started producing a variety of influential fresco paintings which began to get noticed within the Renaissance circles. Most of these fresco paintings were based on sensuous depiction of mythology, these were a bit advanced for the conservative minds of those times but Correggio managed to make them look graceful and ethereal at the same time. His paintings may have confused certain people in those days but today his influence and style are deemed very revolutionary within the art world. Today Correggio rightfully deserves all the praise for the level of perfection which exists in his paintings; he is one of those rare artists who managed to excel both in oil painting and fresco paintings. Soon he was considered on par with other greats like Michelangelo and Raphael, artists whom he admired and were his influences while growing up. Some art critics today will argue that Correggio deserved more success than which came his way had he considered venturing out of Italy, but he didn’t and remained a provincial success. It was only a few decades after his death that artists began to discover what a true genius he was.  Also Correggio may not have felt the need to go outside of Italy as his paintings started getting commissioned by well known lords, noblemen, cathedrals and churches. He was happy making a living from home. Had he gone outside of Italy he would probably be a much bigger name today.

Apart from mythology Antonio da Correggio also worked extensively on religious subject matters in his paintings as well.  His famous Venus and Cupid with a Satyr was painted in 1528 and showcases three naked forms of Venus, Cupid and another male subject. In any other artists hands this could have easily been dubbed too bold but the way Correggio manages to convey the raw passion and beauty of the female and male form is simply divine. There are strong elements of narration and decoration within the painting which is a classic example of showcasing what a master of illusion Correggio was.

Antonio da Correggio Paintings

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