Madonna With St Jerome

Antonio Allegri

The Day was painted at the happiest time of the artist's life, when, in the early days of a happy marriage, all was touched by the rosy light of love. At this happy time, when his fame was daily rising, the young artist received in 1523 a commission from a rich lady of Parma named Donna Briseide Colla, widow of Orazio Bergonzi, to paint an altar-piece for her family chapel in the church of St. Antonio. She promised him a payment of 400 lire imperiali, and some authors assert that she kept him in her own house during the six months he was working at it ; but this is not proved, nor is it probable, as he possessed a house of his own in the town, and his wife was with him. Wherever he worked it must have been with a light heart, and in the brilliant light and colour, the rich, sunny atmosphere and divine joy in the faces of his picture we read the outpouring of his most happy feelings


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