Correggio's school of love

Correggio's school of love
Correggio's school of love

This work made around 1525 by the Italian painter Correggio, is exhibited in the Italian Renaissance painting rooms of the National Gallery in London.

This painting was part of a set of six paintings with mythological themes and an erotic spirit that the artist Correggio made on behalf of Frederick II of Mantua, the highest ruler of the city of Mantua in those years. Specifically, within this series is the one that represents The School of Love, and is also known by another title: Venus with Mercury and Cupid.

Correggio's school of love

Correggio's School of Love

Correggio is a painter with numerous influences on his style. He knows the art of his time from different Italian cities, from Venice to Rome or Milan, so in paintings like this one you can trace those varied influences.

For example here it is evident that the somewhat blurred contours or the veiled transitions that take us from a pink shade to powerful golden reflections refer us to Venetian art, and especially to a painter like Giorgone and his works like The concert country. That same influence is what causes the whole atmosphere of the scene.

But you can also see the mark of the art of Leonardo da Vinci, especially in the figures and faces. Without Leonardo's art and his way of painting thewomen it would be inconceivable that Correggio would have painted such silky hair, or the kind of smile that tells us more about dreams than happiness, not to mention the complicated pose of Venus.

And of course working in Mantua, there is another Renaissance painter of great influence on Correggio's work. Of course we are talking aboutAndrea Mantegnaand his frescoes in the Doge's Palace in the city

The work has survived to this day cut on all four sides. In other words, we don't know what its original appearance would be like, although it is foreseeable that this cut would have left only the figures, while part of the setting conceived by the artist would be eliminated.

The fact is that these figures are magnificent because of the vitality they transmit. Interestingly, this scene is not related to any known mythological episode. But it is a reinterpretation of those three gods, Venus, Mercury and Cupid, to launch the message. It is that Venus and Mercury are teaching Cupid together, just like marriages do. Although it also has an interesting reading in the zodiacal sense, since they would be two good planets for their beneficial influence on those born under their sign.

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