What to do in Parma: discovering Correggio’s masterpieces

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What to do in Parma. The Mercanteinfiera is the most interesting event I’ve participated in in these first months of 2017 and my first time in Parma.
I told you about my days spent among vintage objects, rare works and collectors coming from all over the world in the post about the Mercante in Fiera Parma 2017, but as always, each event I participate in becomes a new journey to discover the city I am in. And Parma is a wonderful art city, which looks like a European city.

Refined and precious, Parma is a city brimming with treasures, art and culture.
Several illustrious people made Parma famous, but only a few marked the artistic image of the city.
Among them the most important artist is Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio (1489-1534).
In this post what to do in Parma discovering Correggio’s masterpieces.

Correggio | Assinzione della Vergine | musei Parma

Image source: Ars et Musica.it

Parma has the fortune to house most of Correggio’s artistic production.
Correggio arrived in Parma in 1519, and there he painted his most important masterpieces.

What to do in Parma: Correggio’s masterpieces in Parma

The Convent of San Paolo houses the first work Correggio painted in Parma, when the Abbess Giovanna da Piacenza commissioned him to paint a room of her private apartment.
Thanks to his talent, Correggio transformed the doomed ceiling of the room into a pergola under the open sky, a pure optical illusion, in which puttoes and mythological characters make the space a daydream.

The second leg of my itinerary is the Church of St. John the Evangelist, where Correggio painted both the dome and the apse.
It was Correggio’s first commission for a public work, and it was important, because the Church had been already built, and his work would influence his career.
Of course, he created a masterpiece, and the view of a shimmering sky, with the arrival of Christ, according to the Book of Revelation by John, leave you breathless.
The look doesn’t know where to stop, and obliges you to admire for an undefined period of time one masterpiece of Italian Renaissance.

While he was still working in the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Correggio was commissioned to decorate the dome of Parma Cathedral, which is located 150 meters from the Church.
Here he painted the theme of the Assumption of the Virgin, and transformed the dome into a vortex of angels, Saints and Fathers of the Church, in which the Virgin Mary is lofted upward to the sky and Christ descends to meet his mother, while the perplexed Apostles looking at the scene.
The dome and the walls of the Church seem to disappear, and the characters float in the air.
If you visit Parma you must enter the Cathedral, because here you can find the origins of Baroque art, where reality and fiction blends together and become impossible perspectives.

In the 17th century great masters such as Carracci, Bernini, Rubens and Velazquez would arrive in Parma in order to admire Correggio’s paintings, and to draw inspiration from his masterpieces. Some of them are displayed inside the Palazzo della Pillotta, which houses the Galleria Nazionale di Parma (National Gallery of Parma).
The Gallery originated from the collection of works and rare and precious objects of the Farnese family, and became a museum in the early 19th century in order to give great prominence to Correggio’s altarpieces and other works which in the meanwhile were added.

Correggio | Cupola San Paolo

La volta della stanza nel Convento di San Paolo. Image source: Wikipedia-org

Correggio | Cupola Duomo Parma

La cupola del Duomo di Parma, dove Correggio dipinge il tema dell’Assunzione della Vergine e trasforma la cupola in un vortice di angeli, di Santi e di Padri della Chiesa.

READ ALSO: Renaissance artist’s workshop.

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2 thoughts on “What to do in Parma: discovering Correggio’s masterpieces

  1. peccato che molte attrazioni siano sempre chiuse!!!!!
    affidare ai volontari.
    e per la prima domenica del mese… i parmigiani aprono alle13.
    si perde tutta la mattina.

    in alcuni musei non e’ prevista la carta di credito
    e nell’info point la mappa della citta dsi PAGA.


    • Come darti torto! A parte le chiese è un po’ un rischio mettersi in viaggio senza prima essersi assicurati che tutti i monumenti siano aperti. Il prossimo anno però Parma sarà Capitale della Cultura italiana e speriamo che aprano tutto.
      In ogni caso Palazzo della Pilotta, dove ha sede la Galleria Nazionale di Parma, ha degli orari precisi e l’apertura è garantita 😉

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