Correggio Biography

Early Life

Correggio, whose real name is Antonio Allegri, was born in August 1489 in the small town of Correggio, from which he subsequently took his name. His family was of modest background, and although not much is known about his early life, it is believed that he was taught by his father, who was a merchant and small-time artist. Despite coming from a humble beginning, Correggio went on to become one of the essential figures of the High Italian Renaissance.


Not much is documented about Correggio’s artistic education. Biographer Giorgio Vasari suggests that Correggio apprenticed with Andrea Mantegna, a significant artist of his time, but this claim is debunked by most art historians based on stylistic differences between the two artists’ works. Some historians suggest that his education may have been provided by local artist uncle known as Lorenzo Allegri or by Antonio Bartolotti, a sophisticated painter moderately affiliated with the Ferrarese school.


It is generally thought that Correggio was mainly influenced by the works of Andrea Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. He emulated Mantegna’s use of perspective and adopted da Vinci’s sfumato technique in his paintings. The influence of Raphael’s graceful and balanced compositions is also apparent in Correggio’s work. In addition, Correggio’s trip to Rome early in his career allowed him to study the works of Michelangelo and other prominent Renaissance artists, impacting his approach to physical modeling and spatial organization.

Major Artwork

Correggio is most known for his mastery of chiaroscuro (the balance of light and dark) and his illusions of perspective. His major works include “Madonna and Child with the Young Saint John,” “Assumption of the Virgin,” “Jupiter and Io,” “Danaë,” and “The School of Love.” One of his best pieces is the dome in Parma Cathedral, an illusionistic depiction of the assumption of the Virgin into heaven. The work is hailed for its innovative use of perspective and the dynamic movement of its figures.

Art Movements

Correggio came of age during the High Renaissance, a period characterized by the exploration of perspective, light, and anatomy. He was a major figure in this movement, particularly known for his unique application of chiaroscuro and his bold use of foreshortening. His work also anticipates the dramatic compositions and exploration of psychological states that would be further developed during the Baroque period.


Correggio died on March 5, 1534, in his hometown. His legacy is most felt in his dramatic use of perspective and light, which led to the development of the Baroque style of the seventeenth century. While not as internationally renowned as contemporaries like Leonardo or Raphael, Correggio is rightly regarded as one of the great masters of the Italian Renaissance. His distinctive style and bold handling of light and shade continue to inspire artists even to the contemporary era.