Paolo Veronese, Jesus Disputes with the Doctors, 1560

Northern Italian artist Paolo Veronese is known for his sumptuous, theatrical paintings, which sometimes got him in trouble with Church officials due to their post-Council of Trent context (as was the case with his 1573 Last Supper/Feast in the House of Levi). In the past, he has occasionally been pigeonholed by art historians as a ‘decorative’ painter because of these characteristics. Nevertheless, notice the bright colour, shallow picture plane, and monumental architectural framing in this work and throughout Veronese’s oeuvre.

Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)
“Juno Showering Gifts on Venetia” (1554-1556)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy

Penitent Mary Magdalene (1583). Paolo Veronese (Italian, 1528-1588). Oil on canvas. Museo del Prado.

A crucifix, a skull, a book and a few branches are all Veronese needed to set the scene, and while the palette is still rich in bright colours, the canvas is imbued with a tranquility resulting from the celestial light illuminating the saint`s serene visage. She is shown at the moment of revelation and her emotion is visible in her tremulous lips and upturned gaze.

Annunciation (c.1560). Paolo Veronese (Italian, 1528-1588). Oil on canvas. Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Mary is located in the enclosed side of the composition. Kneeling at a desk, she has been interrupted in her reading by the angel. She accepts the divine message, as the position of her hands indicates, as does the ray from the Holy Spirit that enters her heart. Mary turns her body at a pronounced angle towards the delicate, graceful angel that arrives on a cloud, floating on air.