Sunday, December 2, 2012

Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art presents the first comprehensive art exhibition in America in more than two decades devoted to Paolo Veronese (1528–1588), one of the giants of Venetian Renaissance painting. Titled Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice the exhibition brings together many of his finest paintings and drawings from North American collections, well as a group of prints after major works. The exhibition runs Dec. 6, 2012 through April 14, 2013 in the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing of the Ringling Museum of Art.

Not since the last major Veronese exhibition took place at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1988 have audiences in America been able to experience his remarkable versatility and artistic practice.

Conceived and organized by Dr. Brilliant in cooperation with Frederick Ilchman, the exhibition highlights Veronese’s artistic process, technical discoveries, and his rich and varied artistic production. Thematically arranged, the exhibition captures Veronese’s treatment of scared subjects from the Bible and the lives of the saints, secular subjects in the classical tradition, portraiture, and engravings and etchings after Veronese. It features imposing altarpieces, religious paintings made for private devotion or for collectors, grand portraits, and sensual episodes drawn from the classical tradition, sketches and finished chiaroscuro sheets.

One of the exhibition’s highlights will be the Ringling’s own work,

Rest on the Flight into Egypt (ca. 1572), one of only two complete Veronese altarpieces in North America and the first Old Master painting acquired in 1925 by the Museum’s founder, John Ringling. The exhibition will also feature two other works from the Ringling’s collection:

Portrait of Francesco Franceschini (1551), the artist’s first known surviving, full-standing portrait, painted when Veronese was just 23 years old, and a painting John Ringling bought as a Veronese, A Family Group (ca. 1565), now understood to be the work of his talented pupil Giovanni Antonio Fasolo.

Conceived and organized by Dr. Virginia Brilliant, the Ringling Museum’s Curator of European Art, in cooperation with Frederick Ilchman, Curator of Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the exhibition highlights Veronese’s artistic process and his rich and varied artistic production. Veronese often depicted the same subjects time and again throughout his career, and the exhibition will examine the artist’s evolving perspectives on the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, the Baptism of Christ, and the Death of Christ through the side-by-side comparison of works in a variety of formats, sizes, and media. For example, the Ringling’s Rest on the Flight into Egypt will be placed in conversation with the National Gallery of Canada’s painting and the Harvard Art Museums’ highly finished drawing of the same subject, as well as the Cleveland Museum of Art’s preliminary sheet of sketches in which the artist’s ideas for all of the finished works originated.

“Veronese is broadly represented in American collections, in contrast with contemporary Venetian painters like Tintoretto and Titian, and thus the exhibition ably surveys his career and oeuvre,” said Virginia Brilliant, the exhibition’s lead curator. “Yet Veronese is often dismissed as a merely decorative painter, more elegant and ‘happier’ than Titian or Tintoretto. This exhibition hopes to shift this perception, and to shed light on Veronese as a masterful, deeply empathetic storyteller and narrative painter whose works were often invested with rich layers of meaning.”

Paolo Veronese will feature prominent works drawn from private collections as well as museums such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Harvard Art Museums, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Canada, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, among others. As Veronese was known for his rich representations of Renaissance Venice’s luxurious fashions and fabrics, the exhibition will include rare 16th-century textiles from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, such as a red damask made of silk and gilt metal thread brocade and a reticella lace towel, which will be displayed alongside paintings portraying similar fabrics.

This exhibition will also mark the first reunion in the U.S. of four works that were once part of the same decorative ensemble —

Allegory of Painting (1560s) from the Detroit Institute of Arts, and three panels from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:

Jupiter and a Nude (1560s),

Actaeon and Diana with Nymphs (1560s),

and Atalanta and Meleager (1560s)—oil on canvas paintings that are believed to have been installed together as a frieze along the walls of a palace or country villa.

Curators will also be testing a new hypothesis that two paintings depicting scenes drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses,

Diana and Actaeon (ca. 1560–65) from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

and Apollo and Daphne (ca. 1560–65) from the San Diego Museum of Art, may have been from the same decorative ensemble. The paintings, which share a similar provenance, dimensions, and scale of figures, will be displayed side-by-side so viewers can compare their use of light, landscape, and color. The exhibition will also feature Thomas Struth’s Galleria dell'Accademia 1, Venice 1992 (1992) from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, inviting visitors to reflect on Veronese’s impact on contemporary audiences.

Other recent European Art exhibitions by the Ringling have included, The Triumph of Marriage: Painted Cassoni of the Renaissance (2008); Venice in the Age of Canaletto (2009 –10), and Gothic Art in the Gilded Age: Medieval and Renaissance Treasures in the Gavet-Vanderbilt-Ringling Collection (2009–10).


PAOLO VERONESE: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice
Edited by Virginia Brilliant with Frederick Ilchman
Published by The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
in association with Scala Publishers
Price: $55.00
Available in the Ringling Museum shop and through retailers online.

Produced to accompany the exhibition celebrating Paolo Veronese at the Ringling Museum, this magnificently illustrated book displays Veronese’s extraordinary versatility and examines his artistic practice, concentrating on works from American and Canadian museums and private collections. Although the artist is unusually well-represented in North America, the broad spectrum of Veronese as a painter and draughtsman has not been available to American audiences in over two decades. This publication, with contributions by an international team of experts and focusing attention on little-known works as well as acknowledged masterpieces, constitutes a major contribution to Veronese studies.

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