Madonna and Child with Saints Jerome and Magdalene known as "Madonna di San Gerolamo" or "The day"
Oil on the table
This admirable altarpiece, called Il Giorno, by analogy with The Dresden Night, was conceived by Correggio in 1523 for Donna Briseide Colla, married to Bergonzi, who in 1528 assigned it to her own chapel in the church of Sant'Antonio in Parma. In 1764 the Duke Don Filippo bought it for the court, but in 1796 during the Napoleonic government it was brought to Paris. Returning to Parma in 1816, she was placed by Paolo Toschi, director of the Academy, in the rooms of the Rocchetta of the Gallery with a design project that gave worthy space to Correggio's masterpieces. Allegri conceives this Sacred Conversation by renewing the traditional icon of the Virgin enthroned, eliminating architectures to place the figures in a naturalistic scenario, where the Madonna is seated on a humble grassy boulder and a red curtain, diagonally, acts as a canopy. It is a domestic, intimate scene, integrally inserted in a landscape, where the characters communicate by intertwining gestures and looks and the Child is its fulcrum. On the left St. Jerome with the attributes that characterize him in his double robe, on one side the old hermit with a gaunt and neglected body, with an unkempt beard and long nails, accompanied by the legendary lion from which he removed a thorn from his paw, from the another is the father of the church with the scroll and the volume, which allude to the Vulgate, the Bible that he had commented by translating the original Hebrew texts into Latin. On the left, Mary Magdalene, the sinner, kneels before Jesus, turning her gaze towards him, an allusion to the tears with which she washed his feet in Simon's house, while she lets herself be caressed in her long, loose hair, a clear reference to her being a prostitute. Behind her, the mischievous figure of the child holding the jar of perfumed oils in his hands is San Giovannino, precursor of the coming of Christ. The landscape is reminiscent of Lombard and Leonardesque views, with the gentle decline of the horizon on blue-gray tones, a natural space where, albeit at a distance, the laborious work of the fields is depicted among temples with a classical flavor, while in the distance you can glimpse a mountain, perhaps the Pietra di Bismantova. Allegri in this painting reveals his maturity and his brilliant autonomy, which also reveals Leonardo's and Raphael's knowledge of painting.