Veronese. Esters stories revealed

From 20 April 2011 to 24 July 2011

We find ourselves in Venice in the depths of the harsh winter of 1555, it is morning time and we are walking well wrapped up down a narrow shaded alleyway. When we get to its end we are suddenly dazzled by the glaring and warm light of the sunset over the lagoon, with an effect magnified by the reflexes generated by the shallow ripples of the Canal Grande. We relish the warmth of the rays, and we miss to notice that we have come to our destination: on our left is the workshop of Paolo Calieri, better known as Il Veronese, the door is ajar leaving us to believe the maestro is already up and at work.We gently step in and find the maestro intent upon his paintings, but it will be a further few months before we will be able to admire the finished paintings commissioned by the prelate Bernardo Torlioni for the church of San Sebastian the paintings will be completed in the autumn of 1556. Still, the fame gained by the artist from Verona, thanks to the paintings drawn a few years prior in the Hall of the Council of Ten and the adjacent Room of the Three Heads of the Council in the Doges Palace, is generating in us great expectations.

The paintings theme is the Crowning of Ester, the Jewish heroine reinterpreted as a foreshadowing of Mary. The events of her life allude to the triumph of faith over heresy and carry a strong anti-Protestant message, this an inevitable fact during the years when the famous Church Council, with its doctrinal and ruling effects, was being held. The painting were eventually hung 12 metres from the floor in the wooden frame of the Church of St Sebastian in Campo San Stae, where the Manierista artist worked for a long part of his life creating many important artistic works.

After 455 years we are back in Venice, this time in spring, the climate is warmer and we find ourselves in the proximity of Palazzo Gimani, the museum that from 20th April to 24th July 2011 will exhibit the three Veroneses paintings, finally restored. The restoration had started in 2008, thanks to the generosity of Save Venice Inc. and the experience of the restorer Giulio Manieri Elia who has brought back in these extraordinary paintings their exceptional colour, luminance and content qualities. The exhibition Veronese. Esters stories revealed will allow visitors to admire for the first time the paintings at eye level, an unmissable opportunity to observe at close range these masterpieces before they return, at the end of the exhibition, to adorn once again the ceilings of the naves of their church of origin.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff