CAT 110. A. Romanet after Gijbertus-Johannes Vandenberg after Paul Veronese. La Fille de Paul Veronese (The Daughter of Paul Veronese). From the Galerie de le Duc d’Orléans. Plate 9, Venetian School. Engraved for vol. 2 of the Galerie du Palais royal, Paris: J. Couché, c. 1800. Melville Memorial Room, Berkshire Athenaeum.
Paolo Caliari (1528-1588), known as Veronese, arrived in Venice from Verona at age twenty-five in 1553. By the time of Titian’s death in 1576, Veronese had established himself as one of the great painters in the history of the city. Titian and Veronese had each created impressive paintings in response to the victory of Venice and its European allies over the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Titian, then in his nineties, painted a battle scene for the Spanish royalty now at the Prado Gallery in Madrid while Veronese, then in his forties, was painting the Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto that Melville would have seen during his visit to the Accademia in 1857. In 1577, when Titian’s Battle of Cadore in the Great Hall of the Ducal Palace was destroyed by fire a year after the painter’s death, Veronese was commissioned to paint a large allegory of the Battle of Lepanto that Melville would have seen in the Sala del Collegia (Council Hall) of the Ducal Palace two days before his visit to the Accademia. Occupying a place of honor in a gilded hall painted entirely under the supervision of Veronese, this glorious painting, completed in 1578, subordinates the action of the battle in the distance to the larger-than-life depiction of Doge Sebastiano Vernier giving thanks for the victory at Lepanto to Jesus Christ, Saint Mark, Saint Justina, and the naval commander Agostino Barbarigo, who had died in the battle, this central group surrounded by a multitude of Christian, Venetian, and allegorical figures (Piovene and Marini, cat. 199; NN J 188, 502, 504).
Like Titian, Vernonese was a highly accomplished and extremely versatile colorist who excelled in portraits, Biblical and mythological scenes, and historical and battle scenes painted for churches, palaces, galleries, and estates throughout Italy and extending into other European nations. Veronese differed from Titian by painting with a buoyancy and joy whose figures were less often shaded with sadness, fear, or remorse. Veronese specialized in Biblical banquet scenes which brightened Venetian churches and European galleries with composite assemblages whose historically Biblical figures were surrounded or attended by personages of Veronese’s own era dressed in their most sumptuous and elegant finery. Veronese in his literary afterlife, dressed as if he had emerged from one of his own banquet scenes, presides over the most animated sections of Melville’s most extended banquet scene, the one he convened among Old Master painters in “At the Hostelry” (NN BBO 158-64, sections 5-7).