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Tempera painting - Apostles and Angels at the Assumption, after Correggio's fresco in the cupola of Parma Cathedral
  • Apostles and Angels at the Assumption, after Correggio's fresco in the cupola of Parma Cathedral
    Correggio
  • Enlarge image

Apostles and Angels at the Assumption, after Correggio's fresco in the cupola of Parma Cathedral

  • Object:

    Tempera painting

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    first half 19th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Correggio (painter (artist))
    Unknown (copyist)
    Correggio (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tempera on canvas

  • Museum number:

    5930-1857

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Antonio Allegri Correggio (1489-1534) was an Italian painter and draughtsman. His best-known works are the illusionistic frescoes in the domes of S Giovanni Evangelista and the cathedral in Parma, where he worked from 1520 to 1530. Correggio won the prime commission to fresco the dome, apse and choir vault of Parma Cathedral in 1522, as a result of the success of the newly completed dome at S Giovanni.
5930-1857 is a reduced copy, on canvas, by an unknown artist probably painting in the early 19th century, of Correggio's fresco for the dome of the cathedral. Although the dome is octagonal, Correggio’s Assumption of the Virgin, illusionistically opens up the cupola so that the viewer in the church witnesses her Assumption from below. At the base of the dome is a fictive parapet pierced by real round windows. In front of it, on a fictive stand the Apostles in a variety of responses to the event occurring above. Beyond them is the Virgin herself, among an exultant throng of music-making angels and putti who carry her into heaven. The patriarchs, headed by Adam, are to the left, the women with Eve to the right. The whole drama is moved away from the centre, so that the Virgin is more easily visible from the nave. In the centre of the dome is a plummeting figure alternatively identified as Christ or as an angel. As the figure has no beard or stigmata and wears green and white, a colour combination not usually associated with Christ, his identity remains a topic of debate. The combination of technical virtuosity, dynamic movement and playfulness in these works ensured their importance for later generations of artists.

Physical description

Apostles and Angels at the Assumption of the Virgin

Place of Origin

Italy (made)

Date

first half 19th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Correggio (painter (artist))
Unknown (copyist)
Correggio (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Tempera on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 114 cm estimate, Width: 160 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Purchased, 1857

Historical significance: Antonio Allegri Correggio (1489-1534) was an Italian painter and draughtsman. His best-known works are the illusionistic frescoes in the domes of S Giovanni Evangelista and the cathedral in Parma, where he worked from 1520 to 1530.
Correggio won the prime commission to fresco the dome, apse and choir vault of Parma Cathedral in 1522, as a result of the success of the newly completed dome at S Giovanni.
5930-1857 is a reduced copy, on canvas, by an unknown artist probably working in the early 19th century, of Correggio's fresco for the dome of the cathedral. Although the dome is octagonal, Correggio’s Assumption of the Virgin, illusionistically opens up the cupola so that the viewer in the church witnesses her Assumption from below. At the base of the dome is a fictive parapet pierced by real round windows. In front of it, on a fictive stand the Apostles in a variety of responses to the event occurring above. Beyond them is the Virgin herself, among an exultant throng of music-making angels and putti who carry her into heaven. The patriarchs, headed by Adam, are to the left, the women with Eve to the right. The whole drama is moved away from the centre, so that the Virgin is more easily visible from the nave. In the centre of the dome is a plummeting figure alternatively identified as Christ or as an angel. As the figure has no beard or stigmata and wears green and white, a colour combination not usually associated with Christ, his identity remains a topic of debate. The combination of technical virtuosity, dynamic movement and playfulness in these works ensured their importance for later generations of artists.

Historical context note

This is a copy on canvas after Correggio's original fresco. Fresco is a painting technique in which pigments are dissolved in water and then applied to fresh, wet lime plaster (the intonaco) . As the wall dries, the pigments become an integral part of the wall. Fresco painting was technically demanding and was usually carried out on a large scale, so the painter had to be accurate in drawing up his composition and capable of organizing a team of skilled assistants. The appearance of the finished fresco depended on the way in which the intonaco was applied. Until the 15th century it was worked with a trowel to a smooth surface, however, from the 16th century onwards, a rougher texture was created by working up the surface with short strokes of a brush, emulating painting on canvas.

Illusionism in painting describes the attempt to make images that seemingly share or extend the three-dimensional space in which the spectator stands. The term is also applied in sculpture, for a presentation of figures that attempts in some way to make them seem alive, and occasionally in architecture, for a presentation of structures that attempts in some way to enhance their dimensions. For imagery, the painter may represent a flat surface from which planes jut and recede to a slight depth or great distance- an effect also known as trompe l'oeil. This practice was common in antiquity and in Italian painting from the 15th century.

Descriptive line

Tempera painting, 'Apostles and Angels at the Assumption' (copy of the fresco in the cupola of Parma Cathedral), after Correggio, first half of 19th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 75-76, cat. no. 73 (5929-1857 to 5937-1857)
Georg Gronau, Correggio, des Meisters Gemälde Stuttgart : Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1907.
David Ekserdjian, Correggio New Haven, Conn. ; London : Yale University Press, c1997, pp. 241-261.
Carolyn Smyth, Correggio's frescoes in Parma Cathedral Princeton, N.J. ; Chichester : Princeton University Press, c1997.

Materials

Tempera; Canvas

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Angels

Categories

Paintings; Christianity; Ecclesiastical Art/Craft

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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