PAOLO VERONESE,Vintage Art Masterpieces,Vintage Prints for Sale Feast in the House of Levi by PAOLO VERONESE {Venetian School}

Feast in the House of Levi by PAOLO VERONESE {Venetian School}

Feast in the House of LeviFeast in the House of Levi

by PAOLO VERONESE {Venetian School}

 

THE maturity of Venetian splendor was celebrated by Paolo Caliari, ordmarily
known as Veronese, from Verona, the town of his birth. This artist pamted
the physical side of man with a truly magnificent touch, filling his religious
commissions with portraits and people of his own time for the sake of elegance
and display; and creating, with his smoothly rounded forms, his romantic cos­
tumes, and palatial settings, an art addressed wholly to the pleasures of sensu­
ous ornamentation.

 

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Youth and old age did not enlist his immense facility; he
preferred to portray the city of Venice at the culmination of her charms, and
to paint men and women at the maximum of their voluptuous development.
Changing the golden notes of the earlier artists into crisper tones of gray and
silver, Paolo raised ceremonials, allegories, and feastings to a decorative
amplitude unattained by any other painter.

He loved the healthy, unrestrained
atmosphere of Venice: the blond and sportive nudity, the frank enjoyment of
good things, the nobles who behaved like nobles, the gorgeous architecture,
and the freedom accorded to the artist.

Paolo Veronese painted only a few small pictures; he was at his best in large
spaces where, with confounding ease, he composed throngs of characters in
an architectural framework. He produced several great paintings of banquets,
one of which, Feast in the House of Levi,

a commission for a monastery, haled
him before the tribunal of the Inquisition. Although the monasteries were not
averse to joyous representations of sacred themes, in this case, it seems, he had
gone too far in his worldliness and in his literal interpretation of Scripture.
Taking his text from St. Mark who records that “

as Jesus sat at meat in the
house of Levi, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus, for
there were many and they followed him,” the artist brought into the painting,
according to the complaint,

“fools, drunken Germans, dwarfs, and other oddi­
ties,” not to mention his friends and other sinners, “I think that Christ was in
that house with his Apostles,” Paolo answered, “but there were some spaces
to be filled, and I adorned them with figures of my own invention.”

Failing
to appease the Holy Office by his explanation, he was reprimanded and ordered
to paint, within three months, figures of more circumspection-a mandate he
obeyed with his usual generosity of spirit.

 

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