Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice

'The Conversion of St. Mary,' ca. 1548. Oil on canvas. © The National Gallery, London.

‘The Conversion of St. Mary,’ ca. 1548. Oil on canvas.
© The National Gallery, London.

With so many great paintings on display, one can easily appreciate the qualities that earned Veronese such renown in his lifetime. These can be summed up in one word: opulence. Everywhere you look, extravagantly dressed, aristocratic figures swagger around in grand architectural settings, as if they were taking part in a series of lavishly staged theatrics. He developed a distinctive feminine type — blond, regular-featured, statuesque — that he applied to Madonnas and courtesans alike. As the art critic Marco Boschini wrote in 1660, “there certainly never has been seen among painters such regal pomp and circumstance, such majestic actions, such weighty and decorous manner!” In 1573, famously, Veronese’s taste for the dramatic got him into trouble with the Inquisition, which wanted to know what place “buffoons, drunken Germans and dwarves” had in a painting of the “Last Supper” (not exhibited here). To which Veronese replied briefly, “We painters use the same license as poets and madmen.”

Read Nick Marlowe’s full review here


2 thoughts on “Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice

    • Many thanks for sharing your interesting review, which I enjoyed reading. I haven’t been to the exhibition myself yet – my colleague reviewed it – but it is definitely on my “to see” list.

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