The exhibition is curated by Giandomenico Romanelli and Claudio Strinati and organised in collaboration with the Musée du Luxembourg. Produced by the Musei Civici di Venezia with the support of Banca Aletti in collaboration with Fondazione Corriere della Sera. On display will be an extraordinary selection of “profane” masterpieces by the painter who, along with Titian and Tintoretto, was one of the foremost artists in 16th century Venice.
Veronese (1528-1588) found favour in Venice from the outset – with his great works for the Doge’s Palace and then, in a theatrical and chromatic crescendo, for the churches of San Giorgio and San Sebastiano, as well as the great patrician palaces – and his fame soon spread throughout Europe. The exhibition will bring together thirty masterpieces which exemplify especially important aspects of Veronese’s innovative, distinctive style, from his allegorical paintings to the splendours of the 70s and 80s, from portraits to mythological scenes, all characterised by a fabulous, sensual, vibrant vision. The paintings – many of them on show in Italy for the first time in modern times – are being lent from collections in Europe and America.
The catalogue is published by Skira.
The exhibition will be held on the first floor of the Museo Correr in the opulent neo-classical surroundings of the Ballroom and three adjoining rooms, in this splendid corner of the Royal Palace which encloses St. Mark’s Square. This part of the Napoleonic wing is rarely open to the public and, after the exhibition, will be the subject of a major restoration project organised by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici PPSAD di Venezia e Laguna.
The exhibition will be linked to other sites around the city containing works by Veronese and a special combined entrance ticket will be available.
The exhibition documents the innovations of an artist who, with absolute originality, represents in symbolic terms the spirit and peculiar nature of the Venice of his day. It therefore provides a unique opportunity to appreciate Veronese’s prodigious Venetian output set against its historical background. In his paintings Veronese celebrates in spectacular fashion the splendours and manifestations of power, and thereby contributes to the creation and establishment of themyth of Venice; on the one hand, he gives body – and sometimes soul – to the most astonishing scenes featuring the ruling class of a “perfect and eternal” state; on the other hand, he uses brilliant, seductive colours and forms to convince the viewer that Venice is also the place of wealth and beauty. Then there is the Veronese of love and mythological scenes, pictorial poetry in sensual, languid tones, where the artist – not without ironical references – depicts, with theatrical virtuosity, magical, evocative materials such as velvet, damask, armour, silk, cloaks, pearls, silver, cloths of purple, jewels, cameos and plumes. Allegory – like myth, chief instrument for political and celebratory painting – allowed Veronese to paint freely and impartially.
In a more earthly vein, Paolo produced portraits of representatives – men, women and children – of a social class which sought a kind of eternity for themselves and their families that was no less triumphal and heroic than that of the ancient gods. It is here that Veronese displays the most intimate, sensitive side of his profane output: his characters – while conscious of their high destiny – talk to the viewer and try to be themselves.
The visit to the exhibition will form part of an extraordinary Veronese itinerary around the St. Mark’s Square Museums, from the Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana to the Institutional Chambers of the Doge’s Palace, and then, in collaboration with Chorus – il museo della Città, to a number of churches containing more magnificent works by Veronese, in particular the Church of San Sebastiano.