Danäe by Correggio

Danae is an artwork by the Renaissance artist Correggio, created around 1531.


The painting was commissioned by the Duke of Mantua Federico II Gonzaga as part of a series depicting the love of Jupiter, possibly intended for the Ovid Hall in the Palazzo Te of Mantua. After the death of Federico, the artwork went to Spain.

In 1584, the artist Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo mentioned a canvas in Milan as part of the collection of sculptor Leone Leoni. His son Pompeo Leoni sold it to Emperor Rudolf II (1601–1603). Later, with Leda and the Swan by Correggio, it was purchased from Prague to Stockholm as military production by the king of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus. His daughter Christina, after the abdication, brought the canvas with her to Rome. After her death, the canvas was inherited by Cardinal Decio Azzolino and later transferred to Livio Odescalchi, Duke of Bracciano, and then to the French regent Philip II of Orleans.

Together with most of the Orleans family collection, in 1792 it was sold to England, where it belonged to Duke Bridgewater and Henry Hope. In 1827, the painting was acquired in Paris by Prince Camillo Borghese for his Roman collection.


The painting depicts the Greek mythological figure Danae, daughter of Acrisius, king of Argos, who is visited by Jupiter, who has been transformed into a shower of gold, which Cupid collects from among the sheets. As a result of this union, Perseus was born. On the right side of the painting, at the foot of the bed, two amoretti, holding an arrow, use a touchstone to test the endurance of love, which risks being corrupted by tact with gold. It is said that the building visible through the window is the unfurnished residence of Federico II Gonzaga at Marmirolo, near Mantua.

The dating of the canvas to 1530/1531 is based on a comparison with a number of figures of angels in the pendentives of Parma cathedral.

A small landscape outside the window and the sunset, the beauty of which is enveloped in the woman’s room, the tranquility of colors convey the divine light that is about to appear with the arrival of the main god and illuminate Danae. The tender body of the latter and the whiteness of the sheets indicate that the beauty will soon fly away to the heavenly spaces.

This work of art was presented to Charles V for the coronation.

The Artist

There are a lot of jokes about the great Italian artist, and today, it isn’t easy to discern the truth or falsity in them. Some say that the painter never studied, wanted to paint masterpieces – and began to paint them; others contradict, claiming that Correggio learned to create and explored very carefully and corrosively from recognized masters. Some say that the artist was impoverished and paid for the work of “penny,” while others claim that he came from aristocrats and was very rich and diversified.

Many other disputes revolve around the artist, but one fact remains truthful: Correggio is a true genius and a master of chiaroscuro that plunges the viewer into the center of the plot and allows him to take a break from third-party objects and images.

Borghese Gallery in Rome,
Book a Visit

Author: Corregio

Antonio Allergi da Corregio

Antonio Allegri da Correggio (1489-1534), usually known as just Corregio, was the painter of the Parma school of the High Italian Renaissance, responsible for some of the original overwhelming and erotic works of the 16th century. In addition, he is considered a master of chiaroscuro. In his utilization of dynamic composition, illusionistic point of view, and sensational foreshortening, Correggio prefigured the Baroque art of the 17th century and the Rococo art of the 18th century.

style="display: inline;">