Deep into Correggio's Dome

Complesso di San Giovanni Evangelista

The view of the domeComplesso di San Giovanni Evangelista

The information expressed in a handwritten letter by Correggio is eloquent about the meaning of the entire iconographic cycle of the church of San Giovanni.

The artist's pictorial excursus into the temple, by virtue of the strict Cassinese inspiration, seems to interpret Augustine's admonition on the second coming of Christ and on the unification of the earthly city with the celestial one, whose hinges culminate in the apparition of Christ at the Evangelist, in the fresco of the dome.

He descended on earth to ascend to heaven with the elderly Evangelist, here crouched on the extreme edge of the outer belt.

Correggio himself in a letter, describes punctuality the iconography of the dome: the "Ascenso" he mentions, in fact, seems to merge coherently with the meaning of the miraculous apparition of Christ Jesus to St John, which would be followed by the ascent into heaven.

In the pendentives are depicted the Fathers of the Church with the Evangelists.

Along the tambour, monochrome, the symbols of the evangelists among the angels.

You can see St John and St Augustine.

Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

The thematic cohesion between the various cycles carried out by Correggio seems to arise from a unitary project:

the pictorial layout of the church and monastery, from the frescoes by the master to those of other artists who worked there at similar dates or slightly in advance, as for the right and left transept, reflects a common program, dedicated to the heart of Benedictine theology.

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