Parma exhibition aims for Correggio's rediscovery

Fri Oct 3, 2008 8:08am EDT
 
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By Valentina Za

PARMA, Italy (Reuters Life!) - Critics have placed him among the great masters of Italy's 16th century painting, but Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio after his birthplace, never enjoyed the fame of Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci.

Now an Italian exhibition, the second this year to display the enigmatic artist's work, literally aims to increase awareness of the heights Correggio achieved by taking visitors up to the gleaming golden sky he painted in the dome of Parma's cathedral.

Home to all of Correggio's frescoes, the northern Italian town of Parma hosts until January 25 an exhibition spread in various locations across its elegant city center (www.mostracorreggioparma.it).

Born around 1490, Correggio led a quiet provincial life in Correggio and then in nearby Parma, where he died in 1534.

Critics disagree on whether he went to Rome, a trip that might explain the echoes of Michelangelo and Raffaello in his works. He certainly spent time in Mantua, where he saw the works of the Gonzaga family's court painter, Andrea Mantegna.

Not having worked in any of Italy's major Renaissance cities cost him fame, both in his lifetime and for centuries after.

"His works speak to the senses awakening strong feelings, while art criticism has a rational approach and is almost diffident toward something so sensual," said Maddalena Spagnolo at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.

The delicate face of an angel borrowed from what many consider Correggio's masterpiece -- the Madonna with Saint Jerome -- greets those entering Parma.   Continued...