Chamber of Saint Paul and Saint Catherine’s cell

Via Melloni, 3/A - 43121 - Parma

Phone: +39 0521218889

Opening times

The Chamber of S. Paul will reopen to the public shortly.
It will be exceptionally open on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 May on the occasion of the event”I like Parma”.
Admissions will be possible only by reservation.

Camera di San Paolo Correggio

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The chamber of Saint Paul used to be part of the abbess’ apartment in the Benedectine Convent of Saint Paul, decorated from 1514 at the order of Abbess Giovanna da Piacenza, whose priorate was characterized by a lively cultural life.

The frescoes painted by Correggio in 1519 can be considered true masterpieces of Italian High Renaissance art. In the room, an umbrella vault is divided into 16 segments by late Gothic ribs. Correggio, influenced by Mantegna, Raphael and Leonardo’s work in Milan, created the illusion of a pergola with festoons of fruit held up by ribbons. In the center of the dome can be seen the armorial bearings of Abbess Giovanna. In each of the 16 segments is an oval trompe-l’oeil opening, filled with finely executed putti in playful poses with dogs, bows and arrows, hunting gear and trophies.

At the base of the vault, faux-marble lunettes boast monochrome mythological figures in classical style and the hood over the huge stone fiereplace shows Diana on a Chariot preparing for the hunt.

These frescoes are clearly more than an allegory of the theme of the goddess of hunting: the cycle is widely aknowledged as a record of the fierce battle of the abbess against the civil and religious authorities, determined to reduce the political power of convents and to suppress their flourishing intellectual and social life.

The room next door, decorated in 1514 by Alessandro Araldi, was also part of the abbess’ apartment. A composition of grotesques with putti, fabulous beasts and gilt stucco rosettes stands out against the dark blue background. Tondi and panels show scenes from the Old and New Testaments while on the ceiling musical angels in a trompe l’oeil look out over a balaustrade.

Alessandro Araldi also frescoed a small chapel on the opposite side of the monastery garden, the Saint Catherine’s Cell, with two scenes of the Saint’s life.
The access to the Cell changes depending on the operators disponibility and is free.

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