Thursday, April 19, 2018

In honor of Paolo Veronese

Self Portrait

Veronese's house in Venice

The Feast in the House of Levi

One of the problems with trying to write a post on an artist's birthday is that we don't HAVE the birthday's for many pre-19th century artists. In Paolo Veronese's case (also known as Palo Callari), we have his date of death which is today, April 19, 1588). Born in Verona in 1528, his father was a stonecutter and apprenticed his son Paolo at the age of 14 to a local artist. Paolo soon began to develop his own style of using lighter colors in a wider range. 

In 1543, he had moved to Mantua and worked on frescos in the city's cathedral. Ten years later he arrived in Venice where he was to produce his most memorable works of art. He specialized in large format paintings of works from mythology and the Bible. He became part of the great artists- Titian, Tintoretto - who dominated 15th century art and that of the late Renaissance. "His most famous works are elaborate narrative cycles, executed in a dramatic and colorful style, full of majestic architectural settings and glittering pageantry. His large paintings of biblical feasts, crowded with figures, painted for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially famous, and he was also the leading Venetian painter of ceilings. Most of these works remain in situ, or at least in Venice, and his representation in most museums is mainly composed of smaller works such as portraits that do not always show him at his best or most typical." Wikipedia

Twenty years after his arrival in Venice, Inquisitors challenged Veronese, asking him to account for the presence of "buffoons, drunkards, dwarfs, Germans, and similar vulgarities" in his painting of the Last Supper for a monastery in Venice. Veronese defended himself by invoking the artist's right to creative freedom. By the end of his life, Veronese's paintings were in such high demand that his brother, two sons, and a nephew had to carry out the remainder of his numerous commissions after his death.

Susannah and the Elders
He has always been appreciated for "the chromatic brilliance of his palette, the splendor and sensibility of his brushwork, the aristocratic elegance of his figures, and the magnificence of his spectacle", but his work has been felt "not to permit expression of the profound, the human, or the sublime", and of the "great trio" he has often been the least appreciated by modern criticism.[ Nonetheless, "many of the greatest artists ... may be counted among his admirers, which include  RubensWatteauTiepoloDelacroix and Renoir".

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