Saints Peter, Martha, Mary Magdalen, and Leonard

Artist: Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Italian, Correggio, active by 1514–died 1534 Correggio)

Date: ca. 1515

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 87 1/4 x 63 3/4 in. (221.6 x 161.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1912

Accession Number: 12.211


This is an early work by one of the most original geniuses of the Renaissance. Commissioned for a church in Correggio's hometown, it depicts four saints chosen by the patron, Melchiore Fassi: Peter, with his keys; Martha, her dragon; Mary Magdalen, her pot of ointment; and Leonard, with his fetters. Each stands separately, absorbed in his or her own thoughts. In this altarpiece, Correggio explored ideas he admired in the work of Leonardo da Vinci—in particular, the elegantly choreographed poses of the figures softly lit against a dense copse of trees (note the woodpecker).