Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice - reviews

Mar 19, 2014

National Gallery show of Venetian master dazzles critics with 'sensuously beautiful' paintings

What you need to know
A new exhibition focusing on the work of Venetian master Paolo Veronese opens at the National Gallery today. Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice features key works by the 16th century artist famous for his large, richly coloured historical paintings of religious and mythological subjects.

Among the 50 works on display from National Gallery, European and American collections, are Veronese's influential masterpieces The Family of Darius and Four Allegories of Love, as well as fresco decorations for palaces, altarpieces, devotional paintings and portraits. Runs until 15 June.

What the critics like
It is "not only the first exhibition in this country to be dedicated to this most sumptuously grandiose, most opulently inventive, most sophisticatedly decorative of Renaissance masters", says Rachel Campbell-Johnston in The Times, but it's also among the most impressive shows of his work ever to be mounted. 

Veronese's mastery of the craft of painting resulted in "some of the most sensuously beautiful works of art ever painted", says Richard Dorment in the Daily Telegraph. Who else conveys the sensation of bare flesh coming into contact with soft fur, luminous silk or lustrous pearls?

The exhibition is "an utter joy", says Jonathan Jones in The Guardian. Veronese is an artist of abundant, irrepressible life and everywhere you look, layer upon layer of technical brilliance dazzles the eye.

What they don't like
Veronese was no intellectual, but "with technique as stupendous as his, who cares?" says Richard Dorment in the Daily Telegraph. Some of his later more conventional religious pictures seem to lack a creative spark, but when it is there, what a painter he is.

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