- Veronese, Paolo
- (Paolo Caliari, 1528-1588)Venetian painter, born at Verona into a family of stonecutters and trained there under Antonio Badile. He was influenced by the work of the mannerist painters Giulio Romano, who had worked in Verona, and Parmi-gianino. Veronese began his career in his home town but received commissions from patrons at Venice and in 1555 settled there. His specialty was decorative ceiling paintings, of which the earliest, pro-duced in 1553 for the rooms of the Council of Ten in the doge's palace, made his reputation, combining remarkable political allegory with a technical mastery of foreshortening and illusionism that made the figures seem lifelike when viewed from below. He continued with The Coronation of the Virgin (1555) as part of the sacristy ceiling in the church of San Sebastiano, following in 1556 with three pictures of the story of Esther on the nave ceiling of the same church. In 1557 Veronese was one of seven artists commissioned to produce compet-itively a number of roundels in the ceiling of the newly completed Li-brary of St. Mark, and his representation of Music was awarded the prize by the distinguished judges, the painter Titian and the designer of the building, Jacopo Sansovino.Even more famous was the series of ceiling decorations depicting feasts that he painted for the refectories of monasteries. The earliest of these was The Wedding at Cana (1562-1563) for the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, but the most notorious was his Last Supper for the Dominicans of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. After its completion, the artist was summoned before the Venetian Inquisition to explain why he had included representations of Germans (Luther-ans, perhaps), Jews, dwarfs, and drunkards among the vast throng de-picted in what at best was a very unconventional picture of the Last Supper. Since the inquisitors were not impressed by his plea for poetic license, he agreed to add an inscription identifying the work with an entirely different theme, which he now called Feast in the House of Levi. His later works included Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto (1574) and Apotheosis of Venice (1577), both executed for the ducal palace.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.