The Artist Paolo Veronese

Born in 1528 Paolo Veronese was an Italian painter. He painted during the Renaissance and is closely associated with the painters Titian and Tintoretto; these three painters comprised a late-Renaissance triumvirate of Venetian artists. Veronese’s best known works include The Wedding at Cana (1562-1563) and The Feast in the House of Levi (1573). His most famous works were painted in the Mannerist style, but Veronese’s work, in general, presents a richer palette of color than was typical of most Mannerists.

Veronese was born Paolo Cagliari (or Paolo Caliari) in Verona. He eventually came to be known by his birthplace and was, henceforth, called “Veronese.” According to records, Veronese’s father was a stonecutter. Early in his teens Veronese was apprenticed to Antonio Badile, a local master painter. By 1544 he left Badile having excelled beyond the capability of that studio and moved to Mantua by 1548. There he painted frescos for the Mantuan Duomo.

In 1533 Veronese moved to Venice. For his first state commission Veronese painted a fresco for the Hall of the Council of Ten. His reputation as a Venetian master was cemented with his ceiling paintings for the Church of San Sebastiano, the Doge’s Palace, and the Marciana Library. During the late 1550s Veronese decorated a recently complete villa by the architect Andrea Palladio which as regarded as a triumphant partnership between the artist and architect; the painting was highly esteemed for its blend of humanist features with Christian spirituality.

From 1662 to 1563 Veronese painted the masterpiece The Wedding at Cana for a monastery situated on a small island across from St. Marks. The work is famous for its narrative quality, diversity of rich coloration, and its use of light. In 1565 Veronese married his former master’s daughter, Elena Badile. The couple would have one daughter and four sons. In 1573 Veronese completed his controversial work Feast in the House of Levi. Originally the work was painted to depict the Last Supper, but the painting was not approved of by the agents of the Inquisition so Veronese was forced to change its title.

Veronese was a well-respected master during his lifetime; even before his death his drawings were sought after by collectors. He headed his own studio which was comprised of other artists—his brother and two sons. Veronese died in Venice in 1588. Other famous works by the artist include Portrait of a Woman (c.1555-1560), Virgin in Glory with Saints (c.1562), The Resurrection of Christ (c.1570), Jesus Among the Doctors in the Temple (1558), Holy Family and Saints (1564), and St. John the Baptist Preaching (c.1562).