CALIARI, Benedetto
(b. 1538, Verona, d. 1598, Venezia)


Italian painter, part of a family of painters. The most accomplished member of the family, Paolo Caliari, is better known as Paolo Veronese, from his birthplace. After his death in 1588, his workshop was run by his brother Benedetto Caliari and his sons Carlo Caliari and Gabriele Caliari (1568-1631), using the signature Haeredes Pauli. Only one signed work by Gabriele is known: an altarpiece of the Virgin and St Anne (Liettoli, parish church); its physical types are related to Veronese's but are rather awkward and heavy.

In 1556, at age 18, Benedetto was recorded as the assistant of his elder brother, Paolo Veronese, decorating the ceiling of the church of San Sebastiano, Venice, and it is thought that he was Veronese's principal collaborator at the Villa Barbaro at Maser (c. 1561), producing much of the illusionistic architecture there and some of the landscapes (in situ). Frescoes (c. 1564-77) in the Vescovado, Treviso (in situ), offer the first known instance of his independent work; the Sala there is an echo of the Sala Crociera at Maser, with landscape views seen through a painted arcade. Benedetto Caliari is attributed with the decoration of the Villa Corner-Piacentini, Sant'Andrea (in situ), with some of the frescoes (after 1575) of the Villa Giusti at Magnadola (in situ) and with easel paintings (late 1560s) of St Peter Visiting St Agatha in Prison (Murano, San Pietro) and the Flight into Egypt (Caen, Musée des Beaux-Arts). He assisted Veronese with two commissions at the Doge's Palace, Venice (1574-82), and in 1575 he was in Padua, helping Veronese with the Martyrdom of St Justine (Padua, S Giustina), a work that clearly shows his hand. The Birth of the Virgin (1577; Venice, Accademia), commissioned for the Scuola dei Mercanti, is one of the few paintings documented as designed and executed by Benedetto Caliari, the forms are heavy, strongly modelled versions of Veronese's types, and the hand is somewhat mechanical.