Assumption of the Virgin, Parma cathedral

(1526-1530)
   Correggio received the commission for the Assumption after attaining great success with his Vision of St. John the Evangelist on Patmos, the dome fresco in the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma (1520-1524). Like the Vision of St. John, his Assumption is a tour de force of illusionism. It occupies the cathedral's main octagonal dome and is made to look as if the architecture has been removed to reveal a vision of the Virgin ascending to heaven. The foreshortening of the figures is so heavy that they do in fact seem to be rising, their undersides clearly visible. Figures and clouds are arranged in concentric circles, with the Virgin being raised up by putti as she extends her arms to welcome her reunion with her son, who greets her into heaven. Correggio beautifully integrated the oculi (round openings) at the base of the dome into the composition as the apostles and other witnesses of the miraculous event seem to either sit or lean on them. The realism, energy, and drama of the scene greatly influenced future generations of artists, particularly Baroque masters who sought to replicate Correggio's convincing illusionism, among them Giovanni Lanfranco, who based his Virgin in Glory fresco on the dome at Sant' Andrea della Valle, Rome, on Correggio's masterpiece.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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