Correggio, Nativity (La Notte, Adoration of the Shepherds)

Correggio (= Antonio Allegri, c. 1489 Correggio 1534). The Night (La Notte, Adoration of the Shepherds). Steel engraving by William French (England about 1815 – East Grinstead 1898). C. 1850. Inscribed: Dresdener Galerie / Correggio pinxt / W. French sc. / Die heilige Nacht. – The Nativity / Druck u. Verlag von A. H. Payne, Leipzig u. Dresden. 7⅞ × 5 in (20 × 12.8 cm).

“ World-famous is Correggio’s Night which has become subject for novellas and poetries. The amazing and the eyes-enchanting in this painting is the gradation from highest light to the deepest darkness. This picture was set up by the Pratoneri family in the church of St. Prospero at Reggio from where it came into the Modena Gallery in 1640 and from this (together with the gilt wooden frame designed “surely” by C.) along with others more to Dresden ”


The light of the scenery ordered by the Pratoneris in 1522, “but not finished before 1530” (AKL), “comes from the child embraced by Mary; on the left two shepherds and a woman; above a cloud with angels; on the right in the middle distance Joseph busied with the donkey (on his left two further faces); in the distance landscape with daybreak” (Thieme-Becker).

By the way exemplary for Nagler’s general remark on Correggio: “The grace of his youthful figures and heads as characteristic of him has a large similarity to that pet physiognomy of da Vinci … so that the presumption becomes probable, Correggio’s first sensation for this special attribute of the rosy youth in the nature” has been nurtured by this. – Two small faint fox spots in the wide white margin.

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