Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice – National Gallery

I admit I had never heard of Veronese before visiting this exhibition at the National Gallery, but I was impressed with what I saw. Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice looks at the work of Paolo Caliari (1528–1588) of Verona (hence ‘Veronese’), who was one of the most acclaimed artists in late sixteenth-century Venice.

Fifty works are present in this, the first monographic exhibition on the artist ever held in the UK. The works, some of which are huge, have taken over some rooms above the Sainsbury Wing, and are shown off to wonderful effect owing to the rich natural light.

As well as the usual pictures and portraits, Veronese painted several altarpieces and frescoes. These are hugely difficult to transport from their original setting and help to explain why his work is less well known over here. I’m glad the effort was made, however, as they really are magnificent. Veronese also painted portraits, and drew inspiration from allegory and mythology. The paintings are stunning, with strong use of colour, and narratives that make an impact.

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