Volume 43 Issue 1, January 2009

Volume 43 Issue 1

Antonio Allegri da Correggio (1489–1543) was born in Correggio, a small town in northern Italy, into a large and poor family. He was apprenticed at the age of 14 to an artist in Modena, where he gained familiarity with the classicism of earlier Renaissance painters. Trips to Mantua and Parma further influenced his work. His first major commission in 1519 was the decoration of a ceiling in the Convent of St Paul in Parma, in which he combined classical images with whimsical glimpses of playful cherubs. He developed a novel form of ceiling decoration (known as sotto in su) in which the use of perspective, foreshortening and other spatial effects creates the illusion of a three dimensional space such as open sky or a cupola. An enigmatic figure to his contemporaries, Correggio nevertheless had a profound influence on later Baroque and Rococo artists, and his dynamic, voluptuous images are nowcon sidered revolutionary and influential. The front cover, held in the National Gallery, London, shows the heads at an extremity of Correggio's fresco in the apse of S. Giovanni Evangelista, Parma.

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