Antonio Allegri da Correggio

Antonio Allegri da Correggio, usually known simply as Correggio, was a 16th century Italian Renaissance artist born in the small Italian town where he gets his name, Correggio, in the year 1489. Known for his painting, frescoes and occasionally erotic subject matter, Correggio was a major influence on the Rococo movement of Italian art that Corrado would be a part of almost two centuries later.

Little to nothing is known about Correggio's childhood, other than that he first apprenticed under his uncle, the artist Lorenzo Allegri. In his early teenage years Correggio became an apprentice of the classicist artist Francesco Bianchi Ferrara in the city of Modena. In around 1510 he returned to his birthplace of Correggio where he is believed to have painted his earliest known work, Adoration of the Child with St. Elizabeth and John. His next commission came in 1514 to decorate the church of Sant'Andrea in Mantua. His renown as an artist grew and he was commissioned again, receiving the contract for painting the Madonna on an altar in the St. Francis Monastery.

In 1516 he moved to the Italian city of Parma and he was married by 1519 to a woman by the name of Girolama Francesca di Braghetis. It is in Parma that he painted his famous works, the Madonna and Child with the Young Saint John, Christ Leaving His Mother and the lost Madonna of Albinea.

In the year 1519 Correggio received his most important commission to date, to paint the ceiling of the mother superior's dining room in the Camera di San Paolo, or Church of Saint Paul, located in Parma. His next big commission was to decorate the dome of the church of San Giovanni Evangelista, where he painted the Vision of St. John on Patmos in 1521. His next assignment came in 1525, when he decorated the Cathedral of Parma's dome with his famed work, the influential frescoes called Assumption of the Virgin. His work during this time period had a vast influence on the later Baroque painters of the following century.

Correggio continued living in the city of Parma, and in 1529 his wife passed away. His next master pieces included The Martyrdom of Four Saints, and The Lamentation. His next commission was a large series of paintings based on the Roman poet, Ovid's epic poem, Metamorphoses, for the duke of the Italian city state of Mantua, Federico II Gonzaga for a room in the duke's Palazzo del Te. These works were never completed as the duke left Italy to visit the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the Fifth.

Correggio spent the next few years creating his best known masterpieces, Danaë, Leda and the Swan, Venus and Cupid with a Satyr, Ganymede Abducted by the Eagle, and Jupiter and Io. A reclusive and shy man by nature, Correggio took no students and he passed away in 1535 in his longtime home city of Parma.

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