Mary Magdalene hurries to the grave before dawn. She and Christ are the subject of this picture by Correggio but so is early morning itself. Night is lifting like a curtain above the woods and showing the first beautiful colors of the new day. Correggio has somehow painted the deep stillness of a morning too. The British art critic John Ruskin thought Correggio was one of the greatest colorists in all of painting. No one, he wrote, ever laid so many beautiful colors one beside the other.
The figures in this painting and their gestures don’t go with modern tastes. But Correggio’s morning still comes through.