(b. ca. 1490, Correggio, d. 1534, Correggio)

Ceiling decoration

Camera di San Paolo, Parma

The fresco decoration of the Camera di San Paolo, a private room in a Parmese convent, was painted for a female patron. It provides further evidence of Correggio's skill with ancient subject matter, particularly of a sensual nature. The program is ambitious and continues the decorative tradition exemplified by Mantegna's Camera degli Sposi. The imitation marble architecture as well as the arrangement of the figures engage the viewer to distinguish the real from the fictive. Correggio constructs a trellis of vines that give structure to his invention.

The interpretation of the represented themes is not easy in the case of unconventional depictions which are not based on known texts or particular iconographic traditions. Correggio's decoration in the Camera di San Paolo is a good example of the "enigmatic" depictions generally found in small, private rooms.