The Italian Almanac

a painting by Correggio


The Eternal City is to pay tribute to one of Italy's most innovative and lively 16th-century artists, Antonio Allegri da Correggio, showcasing a series of his masterpieces from around the world. The Borghese Gallery will host some 40 works by Correggio (1489-1534), whose original use of perspective, composition and subtle shading made him one of the most talented painters of his time.

Despite achieving widespread recognition in his own day, Correggio's work was often overlooked in favour of his contemporaries by later generations. Critics say this neglect has little to do with Correggio's skill and much to do with the fact he never worked in Rome - a de rigueur rite of passage for artists that gave them the chance to rub shoulders with rich patrons and contribute to masterpieces at major sites. Yet despite this gap in his career, Correggio's paintings often drew inspiration from the myths and patterns of Ancient Rome, as well as focusing on more conventional religious subjects.

The exhibit at the Borghese Gallery, the third event in a ten-year programme devoted to great artists, explores this aspect of Correggio's work in detail. Alongside its own Correggio collection, which includes his famous rendering of Danae being impregnated by golden rain, the gallery will host several other mythological works. Like the Danae, most of these are from a renowned set of paintings depicting scenes from Ovid's Metamorphoses exploring the amorous adventures of Jupiter. The selected religious works also look to Correggio's links with the classical past through his formal and compositional decisions, despite the more conventional subject matter.

The location of the exhibition will also give visitors the chance to explore the extent of the inspiration he drew from Ancient Rome, by comparing his paintings with the gallery's own collection of classical sculpture. The exhibition runs from May 22 until September 14.