Paolo Veronese

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Veronese, Paolo

(pä`ōlō vārōnā`zā), 1528–88, Italian painter of the Venetian school. Named Paolo Caliari, he was called Il Veronese from his birthplace, Verona. Trained under a variety of minor local artists, he was more influenced by the works of Giulio RomanoGiulio Romano
, c.1492–1546, Italian painter, architect, and decorator, whose real name was Giulio Pippi. He was the favorite pupil of Raphael and while still a youth was entrusted with the painting of most of the frescoes in the loggias (from designs by Raphael) and a
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, ParmigianinoParmigianino
or Parmigiano
, 1503–40, Italian painter and etcher, one of the most sensitive mannerist artists (see mannerism) and one of the period's finest draftsmen. His real name was Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola.
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, and particularly TitianTitian
, c.1490–1576, Venetian painter, whose name was Tiziano Vecellio, b. Pieve di Cadore in the Dolomites. Of the very first rank among the artists of the Renaissance, Titian was extraordinarily versatile, painting portraits, landscapes, and sacred and historical
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. His early specialty was decorative fresco, most of which are now lost. In 1555 he was in Venice, where he began to develop his characteristic opulent use of color. His talent was quickly recognized. Commissioned to work on the ceilings in the ducal palace, he painted Age and Youth and Hera Presenting Gifts to Venice. His pictures are crammed with figures arranged in a sinuous spatial pattern. Complex mannerist devices are evident in the Giustiniani altarpiece (San Francesco della Vigna, Venice) and in the many works he executed for the Church of San Sebastian. About 1566 he decorated the villa at Maser (near Vicenza). Depicting landscapes, mythological scenes, and portraits, he achieved ingenious examples of illusionism.

Veronese is known chiefly for his religious feast scenes, which he interpreted in a notably secular manner, as in the Supper at Emmaus (Louvre), Marriage at Cana (1562; Louvre), and Feast in the House of the Pharisee (c.1570; Milan). In these scenes he emphasized splendor of color and lavish accessories, banquet delicacies, highly fashionable courtiers, soldiers, musicians, horses, dogs, apes, and magnificent buildings. In 1573 the artist was called before the Inquisition because certain details in his depiction of the Last Supper were considered irreverent. He defended himself valiantly and ultimately changed the title of the work to Feast in the House of Levi (now in the Academy, Venice). In 1576 he painted one of his most famous works, The Rape of Europa, now in the ducal palace. After the fire of 1577 he was employed in the reconstruction of the ducal palace, where he executed the splendid Triumph of Venice and Venice Ruling with Justice and Peace.

Veronese ranks among the greatest of Venetian decorative painters for his harmonious tonalities and rich textures. Many of his works are in American museums, including Venus and Mars United by Love (Metropolitan Mus.), The Choice between Virtue and Vice and The Choice between Wisdom and Strength (Frick Coll., New York City), Lady with her Daughter (Walters Art Gall., Baltimore), Creation of Eve (Art Inst., Chicago), a family portrait (California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco), two allegorical paintings (Los Angeles County Mus. of Art), and a family portrait and Rest on the Flight to Egypt (Ringling Mus. of Art, Sarasota, Fla).


See biography by A. Orliac (1940); studies by W. R. Rearick (1987), A. Priver (2001), P. De Vecchi et al. (2004) and R. Cocke (2002 and 2005); X. F. Salomon, Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice (museum catalog, 2014).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Veronese, Paolo


(pseudonym of Caliari). Born 1528, in Verona; died Apr. 19, 1588, in Venice. Late Renaissance Venetian painter.

Veronese studied with the Veronese painter A. Badile. He worked primarily in Venice (from 1553), as well as in Verona, Mantua, Vicenza, and Padua. He may have visited Rome in 1560. His works of the late 1540’s and early 1550’s indicate that he had studied the drawings of Michelangelo, the compositional structure of Raphael and Correggio, and the colorist discoveries of Titian. He achieved an independent style by the mid-1560’s—a combination of light, artistically refined drawing and fluid form with a subtle range of colors based on a complex harmony of pure colors joined by a luminous silvery tone. He did mostly monumental decorative paintings.

Veronese’s large oil on canvas compositions with many figures, which decorate the walls and ceilings of secular and religious buildings in Venice, often glorified the majesty and military triumphs of the Venetian Republic. They are characterized by heroic elevation of images, powerful chiaroscuro, expressive foreshortening and motion, and a festive triumphant magnificence of color (Age and Youth, 1553, Dialectic, 1575-77, The Triumph of Venice, 1578-1585, all in the Palazza Ducale in Venice; and Triumph of Mardochei and others, 1556, San Sebastiano, Venice). His frescoes in Venetian country villas (Villa Soranzo, 1551; fragments of frescoes now in the cathedral in Castelfranco; and the Villa Barbaro-Volpi at Maser near Treviso, c. 1561), with their cold, airy range of colors, are characterized by great intimacy of the images. In addition to mythological compositions and allegorical figures, the frescoes contain landscapes and genre scenes with humorous illusionist effects.

Embodying humanistic imagery and ideas in integral, complete, monumental decorative forms and organically linking painting with architecture, Veronese developed the finest achievements of Renaissance art on a new level. His favorite kind of easel painting was triumphant many-figured compositions portraying festive banquets, processions, and audiences in which man interacts with the social environment (The Marriage at Cana, 1563, the Louvre, Paris; The Family of Darius Before Alexander, after 1565, National Gallery, London; a series of paintings for the Cuccina family, including The Marriage at Cana and The Adoration of the Magi, c. 1571, both in the Picture Gallery, Dresden; and Feast in the House of Levi, the Accademia, Venice).

Veronese’s bold introduction of concrete observations from real life, genre motifs, and portraits of contemporaries caused the Inquisition to accuse him in 1573 of too secular an interpretation of religious themes. He created a large number of altar pieces that varied in concept and compositional treatment (Madonna With Infant and Holy Men, c. 1562, and The Betrothal of St. Catherine, c. 1575, both in the Accademia in Venice). His few portraits are characterized by gentle lyricism and sometimes have nuances of genre style (Bella Nani, 1550’s, the Louvre, Paris; and Conte Giuseppe da Porto With His Son Adriano, c. 1556, Contini-Bonacossi Collection, Florence).

Veronese’s last works showed signs of the crisis of the Renaissance world outlook. There was cold ostentation and shallow emotionality in his works of the 1580’s; at the same time, they revealed a mood of confused anxiety, grief, and melancholia (The Rape of Europa, 1580, Palazza Ducale, Venice; Hagar and Ismail in the Desert, 1580’s, Museum of Fine Arts, Vienna; and The Lamentation of Christ, early 1580’s, the Hermitage, Leningrad). Refined, rich coloring with the subtlest of shades began to have less meaning. Among Veronese’s pupils were his brother Benedetto and his sons Carlo and Gabriele.


Antonova, I. A. Veronese. Moscow, 1957.
Fiocco, G. Paolo Veronese. Bologna, 1928.
Palucchini, R. Catalogo della mostra di Paolo Veronese. Venice, 1939.
Palucchini, R. Veronese, 3rd ed. Bergamo, 1953.


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