Following the success of “Raffaello” e “Botticelli”, Skira presents the catalogue to the extraordinary Paris show dedicated to Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese. The show will move from Paris to Venice next spring.
In the panorama of sixteenth century Italian art, Veronese is the “profane” painter par excellence, in that he encapsulates both of the great pictorial traditions that most influenced the history of sixteenth century secular painting: the Tuscan-Roman tradition and the Venetian tradition. From the Roman school Veronese took the preference for mythological and allegorical representation that Giulio Romano, Raphael’s most famous pupil, expressed at Mantua; from the Venetian school he captured the splendour and magnificence of colours that made him a “regal” artist, whose work aimed to celebrate the joy of life and illustrate the wonders of the world and the beauty of men and women.
On the whole Veronese expresses a secular and progressive vision that led him to clash with ecclesiastical authorities (as evidenced by the many documents and texts which are the object of thorough analysis in this volume), to the extent that he rose to become a true symbol for modern art.
Véronèse profane focuses above all on this aspect of the artist, glossing over his production of a religious nature and his altarpieces, not so much because they are considered less important but because, notwithstanding their extraordinary beauty, they reveal less about Veronese the man. Clearly this does not mean excluding works having a biblical theme, in as much as Veronese did use Biblical episodes with the spirit of a “profane” narrator, emphasising not only the symbolic and evocative aspects, as his contemporary Venetian artists did, but also the emotional aspects.
In Veronese there is a convergence of true Venetian painting and art from the mainland, which included many great artists from Padua, Vicenza, Verona and Rovigo. Veronese is not Venetian like Titian or Tintoretto, nor is he closely tied to Northern European culture like other Venetian artists, such as Jacopo Bassano or Pordenone. He is the quintessence of great classicism that exalts design and colour, splendour and quality, and that endeavours to organise the episodes depicted with magnificence and to highlight a profound knowledge of the characters portrayed.
Veronese incarnates an entire epoch, that of the transition from the high Renaissance to international Mannerism; connected to aristocratic and humanistic circles, such as those of the Grimani, the Barbaro, and the Contarini families, he dedicated himself to an exploration of sumptuous and rhythmical colour that intensified the luminosity of the image, with coloured shadows and magnificent effects of tonal layering. Through a selection of works having a mythological and allegorical theme, in addition to works depicting biblical heroines and historical figures, Véronèse profane intends to bring to the fore this spectacular element, enabling us to relive many and varied aspects of Venetian life expressed through playful and positive secular art.
Paris, Musée du Luxembourg 22 September 2004 - 30 January 2005
Venice, Correr Museum 18 February - 13 June 2005