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Correggio: 'Christ taking Leave of his Mother'

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Saint John stands behind Christ, while the Virgin is supported by a figure probably representing one of the Three Maries. The subject, which does not figure in any of the Gospels, is rare in Italian Renaissance painting, though common at this time in German painting and engraving.The other notable representation of this subject in the Collection is by the German artist Altdorfer, painted in about 1520.

This is an early work and was probably painted before 1514.X-radiographs reveal an earlier version of the composition; originally Christ was to be shown standing and another holy woman was to be included. The artist then inverted the canvas before starting again with the present design.

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