The Iconography of Correggio's Camera Di San Paolo

The Iconography of Correggio's Camera Di San Paolo

The Iconography of Correggio's Camera Di San Paolo

The Iconography of Correggio's Camera Di San Paolo

Excerpt

Sappiate adunque, M. Lodovico mio, che
l'inventione ò vero impresa . . . bisogna . . .
ch'ella non sia oscura, di sorte ch'abbia
mistero della Sibilla per interprete a voler
la intendere, nè tanto chiara, ch'ogni plebeo
l'intenda.
Paolo Giovio

THE ABBATIAL APARTMENTS OF GIOANNA DA
PIACENZA

I. THE BATTLE ABOUT CLAUSURA

Few people of today would ever have heard of the Benedictine Convent of San Paolo at Parma had not its nuns, soon after April 25, 1507, unanimously elected a most remarkable abbess: Donna Gioanna da Piacenza. Her father, Marco da Piacenza, was a local nobleman of whom--as of most fathers--not much seems to be known; her mother Agnese, however, came from a family equally renowned for wealth, position and humanistic interests: the Bergonzi.

It was in fact this family which had given to the Convent its two previous abbesses, Donna Cecilia and Donna Orsina, and both these ladies seem to have shared with their younger relative, Gioanna, a taste for artistic enterprise as well as a considerable amount of strong-mindedness and pride. Donna Cecilia carried out extensive reconstructions of the monastic buildings and surrounded the whole Convent with a high wall, not without spreading the Bergonzi arms all over the place and immortalizing her activity by an incised inscription of almost unparalleled vaingloriousness:

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