Paolo Veronese is one of the most versatile Renaissance painters who worked a variety of subjects, scales and techniques, from frescos that decorated villas and palaces, to large altarpieces. The National Gallery offers from 19 March to 15 June, and for the first time, a monographic exhibition about this virtuoso born in Verona. Over 50 works of art, from the first to the last paintings of his professional career, reveals the greatness of an artist considered to be the central figure of Venetian mannerism.
The exhibition is divided into 7 rooms. The first is dedicated to his earliest works. Veronese developed from the beginning a distinct style, combining his famous palette of bright colors with intense devotion for classical antiquity. Highlight works such as The Raising of the Daughter of Jairus, 1546, and The Temptation of Saint Anthony Abbot, 1552.
Room 2 presents some of his portraits, where the influence of other artists such as Titian and Moretto is clear. Portrait of a Lady, Known as the ‘Nani Bella’, 1560-1, demonstrates his ability to describe the elegance and splendor of the Venetian aristocracy, capturing both the physical characteristics and social ambition of the protagonist.
The third area focuses on some paintings and altarpieces for churches. In early 1560, the artist settled in Venice, where he received some of the most important commissions from religious institutions. One of his most celebrated work is The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, 1565-1570, prepared for the altar of the convent of Santa Caterina (Venice), where young aristocrats were educated before getting married.
Veronese’s paintings have always been described in terms of their theatrical effects. Room 4 contains some of his most spectacular works in size and execution. Designed for the altar of San Giorgio in Braida, Verona, The Martyrdom of Saint George, 1565, shows the Roman soldier accepting his martyrdom after refusing to worship pagan idols. Architectural configurations play a fundamental role in the narrative of the artist as well as its great figures and great actions.
In the 1970s, Veronese continued his art of devotion, this time influenced by the new spirit of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The fifth space shows how deeply his religious paintings such as The Preaching of Saint John the Baptist, 1575, represented a fundamental tool to reinforce the Catholic beliefs.
Room 6 displays some of his works of mythological narrative, following the tradition established by Titian in Venice. Highlights Scorn and Respect, both works made in 1570.
Finally, the last area includes some of his latest paintings, known for their deep, rich colors. Example of them is Venus, Mars and Cupid, 1580, where the pale color of Venus contrasts with the cold metal of Mars, giving the work an exquisitely executed sensuality.