The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine by Correggio
IN THIS religious subject, Correggio manifests quite clearly an affinity with the style of Leonardo, chiefly in the painting of the head of the Madonna. There is a softness, almost a lush quality, in the handling of the subject; this "effeminate" treatment is very frequently found in Correggio's works. It is, on the whole, but one example of a growing tendency in Italian painting to soften, at times, sweeten, the religious subject--in short, to humanize it.
Here the representations of the Christ-child, the Madonna, Saint Catherine, and Saint Sebastian are delicate, relaxed, and lyrical. It is a healthy and poetic conception, unmystical and warm. This is no doubt the quality to which literary men were alluding when they spoke of the "correggiosity" of Correggio.