Almost every celebrated painter has at some time in his life sat for his portrait. Many have painted their own likenesses, not so much from motives of vanity, but as a matter of artistic interest. Others have posed as models to their fellow painters.

Correggio was an exception in this regard. The old biographer Vasari made many efforts to procure a portrait, and concluded that "he never took it himself, nor ever had it taken by others, seeing that he lived much in retirement."

Our painter, as we have seen, was not a student of the face. Form and expression did not greatly interest him. He busied himself chiefly with problems of light and shade. This is perhaps the reason why he never thought it worth while to paint his portrait. He was not a traveller, and probably never visited any of the great art centres of his time. So he made no friends among the contemporary painters who would have been likely to make his portrait. In any case his busy life left little time for any work for himself, and if he thought at all of a portrait, he doubtless postponed it to some more convenient season. Waiting for such a time, his career was brought suddenly to an end. He died of fever in Correggio at the age of forty.

In the passing centuries one picture after another has been put forward as a pretended portrait of Correggio. The painter's admirers were always eager to believe that a real likeness had at last been discovered. Though we cannot rely upon the genuineness of any of these, some are very interesting.

Such an one is our frontispiece, from a painting in the Parma Gallery, pointed out as Correggio's portrait. Whoever the original may have been, the expression is certainly animated and intelligent. There is much humor and kindliness in the face. The unknown artist should have the credit for the gift of revealing the individual character of his sitter.

Lacking an authentic portrait of the man Correggio, we have to content ourselves with the short account of his character given by Vasari. "He was a person," writes the biographer, "who held himself in but slight esteem, nor could he ever persuade himself that he knew anything satisfactorily respecting his art; perceiving its difficulties, he could not give himself credit for approaching the perfection to which he would so fain have seen it carried; he was a man who contented himself with very little, and always lived in the manner of a good Christian."