A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice
December 7, 2012 - April 14, 2013
Paolo Veronese (1528–1588) was one of the giants of Venetian painting, the most elegant of the triumvirate that also included Titian and Tintoretto. Veronese is perhaps best known for his grand ceiling paintings and large scenes of Biblical feasts. Yet throughout his prodigious and successful career, he and his bustling workshop also created imposing altarpieces and smaller religious paintings for private devotion or collectors, striking portraits, depictions of sensual episodes drawn from the classical tradition, and majestic allegories glorifying the Venetian state. Veronese was also an outstanding draughtsman, creating both lively preliminary sketches and highly finished sheets considered works of art in their own right. The opulence and splendor in Renaissance Venice comes to life in his art, and one of his main biographers, the art historian Carlo Ridolfi, wrote in 1648 of his “outlandish and majestic gods, grave characters, matrons full of graces and charm, kings richly adorned, the diversity of draperies, various military spoils, ornate architecture, joyous plants, beautiful animals, and many of these curiosities.”
Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice presents some of the finest paintings and drawings by Veronese in North American museums and private collections, as well as a selection of prints after the artist. Paintings and drawings are organized by subject matter and genre, with secular subjects preceding religious ones; the prints offer a coda and conclusion.
To illustrate Veronese’s collaborations with other masters as well as his command over a significant and successful workshop, the exhibition features several paintings and drawings created in part or full by talented collaborators, pupils, and assistants. Throughout his career, Veronese creatively reworked the same subjects again and again in different formats and media; several sections of the exhibition invite consideration of this important artistic practice. Lavish textiles feature prominently throughout Veronese’s paintings, and the exhibition draws close attention to Veronese’s gorgeous dresses and draperies. Yet despite the sumptuousness and secular cast, the magnificence, luxuriousness, and theatricality of his works, Veronese was a masterful and empathetic storyteller and observer of human emotion, carefully attuned to the highly poetic yet also deeply religious culture for which he made his art. The exhibition also explores the rich layers of meaning in Veronese’s supremely beautiful art.
Loans to the exhibition come from the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Harvard Art Museums; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Morgan Library and Museum; the Blanton Museum of Art; and many other museums and private lenders.
This exhibition was organized by The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida and received generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts Federal Indemnity Program, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and Sotheby's Ltd.