Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Italian, active by 1514–died 1534)
Oil on canvas
87 1/4 x 63 3/4 in. (221.6 x 161.9 cm)
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1912 (12.211)
Apart from a painting of The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine in the Detroit Institute of Arts, this is the only major work by Correggio in an American collection. A work of the artist's early maturity, it was painted for a local patron, Melchiore Fassi, and installed in Santa Maria della Misericordia at Correggio. The composition reflects the influence of Raphael's Saint Cecilia at Bologna (about 1514).
The emblems of the saints are keys (for Peter), a dragon (for Martha), a pot of ointment (for the Magdalene), and fetters (for Leonard). The Fassi altar in Santa Maria della Misericordia was dedicated to Saint Martha. The greens in the background have darkened, and a woodpecker, on the tree trunk to left of center, is now almost invisible. There is some local abrasion, especially in the head of the Magdalene, but the paint surface is in general well preserved.