Ritratto di dama (1520-1524)

Correggio (c.1489-1534)

Ritratto di dama (Portrait of a Lady)
Oil on canvas, 103 × 87.5 cm
Hermitage MuseumSaint Petersburg

A sensual version of Raphaelesque grace was produced by Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio, a painter who worked in Parma. From Santi he adopted not only classical harmony, but also the especial immediacy of his images, their touching tenderness. The artist was drawn to all that was poignant, playful and moving, anything that appealed directly to the viewer’s feelings. As a result, Correggio came to be regarded as a sort of alternative to Raphael – a painter of the classical type, but without the classical coldness. The enchanting humanity of his Portrait of a Lady, which derives from Raphael’s Donna Velata, is the diametric opposite of Giulio Romano’s cold and rigid Lady at the Mirror, an interpretation of Raphael’s La Fornarina. This comparison is rendered all the more interesting as it is traditionally believed that Donna Velata and La Fornarina both depict the same model – Raphael’s mistress Margherita Luti (known as La Fornarina). Correggio took from Raphael what Giulio ignored: the soft plasticity of forms, a restrained palette of a few closely related tones, the laconic clarity and harmony of the whole. Like Giulio’s work, Correggio’s painting is full of complex symbolism that does not, however, hit you in the eye and does not hamper the immediate perception of the painted image. Far more than the eloquent details, viewers are intrigued by the model’s face, which the artist invested with an enigmatic, slightly coy expression. (SHM)


Raffaello (1483-1520)
La Velata
Galleria PalatinaFirenze