Artist: Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Italian, Correggio, active by 1514–died 1534 Correggio)
Date: ca. 1522–25
Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and gray-brown wash, highlighted with white gouache, squared in red chalk, on paper tinted with reddish wash
Dimensions: 3-3/4 x 6-3/4 in. (9.5 x 17.2 cm)
Credit Line: Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1917
Accession Number: 19.76.9
This exquisite small sheet is a preparatory study for the severely 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. Correggio made a few changes between the drawing and the fresco: the number of angles is brought up to four and the burst of light behind the Virgin is still more extensive. Both fresco and drawing have generally been dated to 1522-25.