30 September 2016 | 11 °C

Veronese At National Gallery

Veronese At National Gallery
oil on canvas  337 X 241 CM
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, about 1565-70 Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice (1324) © Courtesy of the Ministero dei Beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo
Venus, Mars and Cupid
Paolo Veronese
about 1580. Copyright National Galleries of Scotland
Venus, Mars and Cupid Paolo Veronese about 1580. Copyright National Galleries of Scotland
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)
Martyrdom of Saint George, about 1565
Chiesa di San Giorgio in Braida, Verona
© Photo Scala, Florence
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) Martyrdom of Saint George, about 1565 Chiesa di San Giorgio in Braida, Verona © Photo Scala, Florence
oil on canvas 341 x 240 cm
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) Saints Geminianus and Severus, 1560 Galleria Estense, Modena (4187) © Courtesy of the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo - Archivio Fotografico della SBSAE di Modena e Reggio Emilia
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)
The Rape of Europa, 1575
© The National Gallery, London (NG97)
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) The Rape of Europa, 1575 © The National Gallery, London (NG97)
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)
Perseus and Andromeda, 1575-80
Musée des Beaux - Arts, Rennes (1801-1-1)
© MBA, Rennes, Dist. RMN/Adélaïde Beaudoin
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) Perseus and Andromeda, 1575-80 Musée des Beaux - Arts, Rennes (1801-1-1) © MBA, Rennes, Dist. RMN/Adélaïde Beaudoin

When the National Gallery announced its Veronese blockbuster, we felt both anticipation and trepidation. We were looking forward to seeing the works of the great Renaissance master in London, but having seen them in Venice we worried that his grand scale paintings would be unfit for travel.

We needn't have worried as many of the larger works have made it to London, including the wonderful coup of having many paintings from Italian collections, who are notoriously reticent in letting their pieces leave the country. One of the grandest is the martyrdom of St George, which would normally be on display in a church in Verona. It loses none of its awe in the National Gallery as the visitor stands level with St George while the Virgin, infant Jesus and Saints look down from heaven.

The full range of Veronese is on display, many featuring his renowned use of sumptuous colours and his population of works with a panoply of characters. In the supper at Emmaus, as Christ dines with two disciples, a child appears from under his mother's clothing, there are dogs in the foreground and a city in the background. But Veronese was also able to create a tender family scene — Mars and Venus look on lovingly as Cupid is frightened by an overly amorous dog and reaches for his mother's hand.

Two of our favourite works  feature Perseus swooping down to attack the sea monster before it is able to consume the sacrificial Andromeda, and the macabre beheading of Holofernes by Judith. It is hard to pick out any more favourites because each room reveals even more great masterpieces.

This is a fantastic exhibition of Veronese that highlights both the diversity of his work and exemplifies why he is considered to be one of the greatest Renaissance painters. This exhibition definitely lives up to the hype — in fact, exceeds it.

Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice is on at The National Gallery until 15 June. Tickets are £14 for adults, concessions available.

Last Updated 16 July 2015

Tabish Khan

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Artseer

It isn't surprising that the Italians were reluctant to let the Martyrdom of St George leave the country given that its last field trip was with one Napoleon Bonaparte: http://artseer.wordpress.com/2...