The National Gallery has successfully negotiated the loans of a great Renaissance master marking the first exhibition dedicated to the artist Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese, in the UK.
Century artist was born in Verona in 1528 before moving to Venice in the 1550s rising to prominence as he chronicled the opulence of venetian life at that time. Veronese was able to set the scene in each of his works featuring people gathered in religious, or mythological ceremonies, whilst allowing each story to unfold in front of your eyes.
An example of this is the Martyrdom of Saint George, 1565, which has never before been loaned from the Church in Verona it calls home. It was taken briefly in 1797 when seized by Napolean's troops & taken to Paris before returning in 1815. This painting presents a highlight of the show & is uncovered magnificently... Concealed by the frame of the gallery door the painting is unveiled with each movement forwards revealing more with each advancing step before seducing it's viewer by rising above in all it's glory. A truly spectacular experience.
Veronse developed his craft at a time of great venetian painting, existing in the same era as Tintoretto (1518-1594) as well as Titian (1488-1576). Each artist held a genuine respect for each others work &, although working in the same era at the same time, were rarely in competition for work. Veronese is considered to be the better storyteller with his complex narrative paintings showing great historical & religous events often on a very large scale. Some of his paintings that could have featured in this display were too large to enter the gallery space.
Like many leading artists, Veronese was commissioned to paint the aristocracy of his time & some of these portraits feature in the display. It is, however, the dramatic scenes of symbolic events, which steal the show as the artist fills the canvas with much activitity. The National Gallery's very own 'The Family of Darius before Alexander', 1565-67, is splendidly presented for all to admire. This historical scene comments on Alexander the Great's defeat of the Persian King with Alexander said to be the figure in red. The painting's theatrical design clearly shows Veronese's strength at building upon each layer to illustrate the story's elaborate content so competently.
The result of the gallery walls decorated in Veronese's work is a celebration of beauty with imaginative scenes played out in breathtaking detail. His seductive palette enrich each story, which further express the opulence of their time contained within grand frames. The National Gallery have succeeded in bringing together over 50 paintings of this celebrated period of renaissance art & presented them in natural light providing a truly remarkable experience.
The wonder of this exhibition is further fuelled by the romantic ideal that a selection of paintings are displayed for the first time since they hung in the artist's very own studio, some 450 years earlier. It is details such as this, which make the exhibition so special. This visit to the National Gallery should be savoured.
Venus and Adonis, 1562 The Martyrdom of Saint George, 1564
Adoration of the Kings, 1573
The Finding of Moses, 1580
The Anointing of David, 1555
Allegories of Love, Happy Union, 1570 The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, 1585