Thursday, June 26, 2014

Correggio, Antonio

The Adoration of the Magi
oil on canvas
84 x 108 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy

Antonio Allegri da Correggio (1489-1534), usually known as Correggio, named after the small town in Emilia where he was born, was one of the greatest Italian artists of the Renaissance, who was responsible for some of the most vigorous and sensuous works of the 16th century. Relatively unknown in his lifetime, he was to have an enormous posthumous reputation. He was revered by Federico Barocci and the Carracci, and throughout the 17th and 18th centuries his reputation rivalled that of Raphael.

His career is poorly documented and his training has to be conjectured on stylistic grounds. Echoes of Mantegna's manner in many of his early paintings indicate that he may have studied that master's work in Mantua, and he was influenced in these works also by Leonardo. Later he developed a style of conscious elegance and allure with soft sfumato and gestures of captivating charm. Although he worked mainly in provincial centers, he was one of the most sophisticated artists of his time, blending disparate sources into a potent synthesis. In his use of dynamic composition, illusionistic perspective and dramatic foreshortening, he prefigured the Rococo art of the 18th century.