Parma: The dove dove when it got hot

Me brain may be small, but it works three times faster than yours. And it knows when ’tis hot, you take your baby swimmin’. ‘Tis refreshin’. Go find yourself a proper marina, you ain’t gonna dive in here, you crouching mammal!


And I thought, the pigeon’s right, ’cause if you have a GPS built into the neurons of your brain you must know something about life. That’s how the pigeon’s brain works, you know. They have neurons tracking the magnetic field of the Earth. They always know where to find puddles, bread crumbles, and the address to which mail delivery is to be made. We, humans, could use that ability.

Heat can be oppressive, but there’s always a way to pool it down. It is not that bad. The worst thing that can happen to you in Parma is walking past a food store window when you’re hungry. ‘Cause it hurts (more than listening to Gwen Stefani singing this song).


Seeing this, vegans faint and meat-eaters swoon. Fizzy red Lambrusco and Parma ham, at prices 1/4th of what you get in Milan/Florence/Seaside resorts. And tourists are just a few. I am falling in love with Parma. They don’t know it, but they could use my help in PR and museum curating. I’d even do it for free, if they let me scale the Cathedral dome to study Correggio’s murals.

Trust me, every foot of Correggio’s Dome is worth scaling.

Correggio was an artist who overshoot Renaissance by 200 years. Giotto was only a hundred years ahead of his time, so Correggio was doubly cooler. Yet, he is relatively unknown, because his best works can not be placed in a gallery, and can not be made to travel the world. You have to come to Parma to see three great works by Correggio. Three domes.

The first dome was the private dining hall of an abbess (1519). It was a revolutionary approach to interior design, which immediately brought him a new commission. He painted his second dome (1520-21) in the oldest church of Parma (that was there since the 10th century) with the Vision of St.John. In three years after that he was given Parma’s biggest dome to play with, and he produced his most striking work, the Assumption of the Virgin.

The three domes are below, in the clickable gallery format.

The third dome is, in fact, not a big one. I’d say it is relatively flat. But when you look into it, it spirals up into infinite skies.

I’ve shown Correggio’s Leda and the Swan here. I’d love to talk more of him, but I remember I have to work on Modigliani. On art of that period, you may check out my rrrrevolutionary approach to Holbein’s Ambassadors (done in about 5 years after the third dome was completed) – and see the difference for yourself.

PS I must say though that Parma doesn’t know how to work with tourists (in the arts department), how to make them spend their money, and how to lure them to come back. Its museums are really bad. Information is sparse, non-systematic, or just absent. Lighting is a crime against the art objects they exhibit. The way the most important works are exhibited is ridiculous. Opening hours are a joke. I understand the city may face budget cuts. But without excited tourists who come to see these marvels they won’t have any more budget. It is a vicious circle that they have to unwind. This side of Parma made me sad.


  1. I agree with your final remark. Lack of funding (and many museums in Parma are not city museums but national ones, and that makes a difference, albeit small) does not justify anything, but, on the contrary, in a country like Italy, just says it all about how culture and cultural heritage are undervalued and basically forgotten. When investing on them – in an intelligent way, probably copying what other countries in old Europe have been doing in the last twenty years – could really be an attractor for investments and economic reboot. The problem is mentality. Sad.

    1. Museums in London could be a great example: they did an incredible job after Thatcher stopped their funding. Thank you for your insider view )

  2. I have always loved Correggio. I hope this post contributes to make him a bit more well known.
    And it’s true: when I see that shabby side of Italy makes me really angry.

    1. This shabbiness is not about the buildings, it is about the minds. The building can be shabby, but a few bright minds who really care about what they do and not just toll away their museum hours can make a difference. Alas, where are those bright minds?

It would be grand to hear from you now!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: