Antonio Correggio, Study for Eve, a red chalk drawing

Italy, around AD 1523-5

A preparatory sketch for the dome of Parma Cathedral

In 1522 Correggio (about 1489-1534) was commissioned to paint a fresco on the dome of Parma Cathedral. The subject was the Assumption of the Virgin, her welcome into Heaven by numerous biblical figures, saints and angels. One of the welcoming figures is Eve for which this is an early study.

In this sketch, she is depicted as a graceful female nude, sitting to the right. The apple is held by the seated putto, while in the fresco itself Eve holds the fruit out to Adam on the other side of the dome. The contours of Eve and the putto were traced from an earlier study now in the Teylers Museum, Haarlem.

Correggio used intense areas of red chalk to suggest the shadows on Eve's body. He went over the contours of her arms and back in stronger lines as he decides they were in the correct pose. The cloud is merely sketched in to support her body.

Correggio was a superb painter of the human body. The use of chiaroscuro (light and shade) to suggest real flesh was one of Correggio's many skills. Another technique was his mastery of drawing figures as if seen from below. Correggio's art was studied by many later artists, such as Federico Barocci and Annibale Carracci.

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More information


D. DeGrazia, Correggio and his legacy: sixt, exh. cat. (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1984)

M. Royalton-Kisch, H. Chapman and S. Coppel, Old Master drawings from the M, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)

J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)

D. Ekserdjian, Correggio (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1997)

A.E. Popham, Italian drawings in the Depart (London, The British Museum Press, 1967)


Height: 183.000 mm
Width: 130.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1895-9-15-738



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