Veronese Information

Veronese is one of the “great trio that dominated Venetian painting of the cinquecento” and the Late Renaissance in the 16th century. Known as a supreme colorist, and after an early period with Mannerism, Paolo Veronese developed a naturalist style of painting, influenced by Titian.

The Wedding at Cana, painted in 1562–1563, was also collaboration with Palladio. It was commissioned by the Benedictine monks for the San Giorgio Maggiore Monastery, on a small island across from Saint Mark's, in Venice. The contract insisted on the huge size covering 66 square meters, and that the quality of pigment and colors should be of premium quality.

In addition to the ceiling creations and wall paintings, Veronese also produced altarpieces like The Consecration of Saint Nicholas, 1561–2, London's National Gallery, and paintings on mythological subjects Venus and Mars, 1578, New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, also including portraits Portrait of a Lady, 1555, Louvre. A significant number of compositional sketches in pen, ink and wash, figure studies in chalk, and chiaroscuro modelli and ricordi survive.

The Benedictine monks who commissioned the Wedding at Cana had directed Veronese, as an artist, to freely include as many human figures as would fit in the banquet scene of The Feast in the House of Levi. In contrast, a decade later, Veronese encountered legal, religious constraints that determined the suitability of who and what he depicted in a painting—thus, on 18 July 1573, the Inquisition legally summoned Veronese before a tribunal, to explain the presence of what Church doctrine considered characters, animals, and indecorum extraneous to an image of the Last Supper of the Christ.

The tribunal's interrogation of the painter Veronese was cautionary, rather than punitive; political, rather than judicial; nonetheless, Veronese explained to the Inquisitiors that “we painters take the same liberties as poets and madmen” in telling a story. Although the Inquisition's tribunal ordered Veronese to repaint the last-supper scene, he opposed their remedy to his theological offences, yet was compelled to re-title the painting from the sacramental The Last Supper to The Feast in the House of Levi. That an artist, such as Paolo Veronese, had successfully perdured against the Inquisition's implied accusation of heresy, indicated he had the discreet political support of a patrician patron of the arts.

Paolo Veronese is a renowned artist celebrated by people from all around the world, and at his time was one of the first painters whose drawings were sought by collectors.