Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Italian, Parma, died 1534)
Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, highlighted extensively with white gouache squared in red chalk, on pink-washed paper
3 3/4 x 6 3/4 in. (9.5 x 17.2 cm)
Hewitt Fund, 1917 (19.76.9)
This exquisite small sheet is a preparatory study for the badly damaged fresco originally painted for the Church of San Francesco, Parma (now in the Galleria Nazionale, Parma). The drawing is highly worked in a rich mixture of media with the topmost layer in thick white gouache, anticipating the brilliant lighting and color of the fresco. The sheet is squared and, though small, may have been the final design, in which the painter (and perhaps his patrons) would have been able to visualize much of the final result on the wall. This and other sheets by Correggio in the same technique are perhaps the most painterly drawings made in Italy during this period.