Paolo Veronese and the Myth of Europe


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Introduction to Paolo Veronese and the myth of Europe.

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Paolo Veronese and the Myth of Europe

  1. 1. Paolo Veronese Paolo Caliari became Veronese from his birthplace Verona where he was born in 1528. He died in Venice on April 19th 1588. He was born to a stonecutter and began his artistic career at 13 Antonio Badile’s apprentice. The latter would become his future father in law. Veronese created his first important masterpiece, the ‘pala Bevilacqua Lazise’ when he was twenty. During the following years he started to work for the Soranzo family in Castelfranco Veneto and for Cardinal Hercules Gonzaga in Mantua. After a short period in Verona, he spent most of his time working in Venice. In 1553 he started to work on his Venetian masterpieces in Palazzo Ducale and in 1556 he collaborated at the decoration of the ceilings of the Marciana Library with frescoes. He spent most of his life in Venice and went for short stays to Verona, Piacenza and Vicenza for work. In 1566 he married Elena, Antonio Badile’s daughter. They had several children and his sons Gabriele and Carletto together with his brother Benedetto were Veronese’s main and most important collaborators. Veronese’s style was born within the Mannerist culture of Parma but is part of the Mannerism of Venice, even if the chromatic range used in his paintings is richer than the traditional one. Veronese was highly aware of Giulio Romano’s activity, Bronzino’s elegance, the raphaelism of Antonio Allegri called Correggio and Palladio’s and Sanmicheli’s architectural innovations. He was not interested in problems that weren’t exclusively formal. Veronese was known as supreme colorist, able to portray the luxurious details of a garment and the muscles of a hound with the same intensity. He was an extraordinary inventor of imaginary painted architectures and extremely good in interpreting the pleasures of living in Venice during the 16th century. Among his masterpieces are a marvelous cycle of frescoes at Villa Barbaro di Maser (Tv), the imponent and amazing Suppers, the paintings in Palazzo Ducale and the grand ensemble of art works in San Sebastiano, to whom he dedicated his whole life. Veronese was buried in the church of San Sebastiano in Venice. Paolo Veronese Rape of Europe 1580/85 Capitoline Museums, Picture Gallery
  2. 2. Paolo Veronese is the one who created what was to be called ‘fare grande’ of the Venetian painting style, he combined a refined formal elegance with a new and informal use of color as in the big painting of the rape of Europe ( signed copy of a painting with the same subject that is at present preserved in Palazzo Ducale in Venice). In the painting the myth - the young girl Europe is stolen by Jupiter transformed into a bull, taken into the sea and brought to the land that was given her name- is told in detail and the story focuses on the sensual figure of the girls that is sumptuously dressed.