STROZZI, Bernardo
(b. 1581, Genova, d. 1644, Venezia)

Banquet at the House of Simon

c. 1630
Oil on canvas, 272 x 740 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Bernardo Strozzi the last of the three painters who revitalized Venetian painting at the beginning of the 17th century, came to Venice from Genoa in 1631. In his works the artistic language of Fetti and Liss is developed in a more decorative style influenced by Veronese, with a robust exuberance of colour reminiscent of Rubens. Strozzi's admiration for Veronese even before leaving Genoa is evident in Banquet at the house of Simon, clearly inspired by the works of the great painter, even if the exuberant style is now clearly Baroque.

This is a late work that may have hung in the chapel of Palazzo Gorleri at Diano, Genoa. It combines the careful distribution of figures with attention to the functional details of the narrative. The architectural setting may hint at Veronese's banquet scenes.

The banquet table is set diagonally in the wide niche. There are two focal points to the composition: Christ defending Mary Magdalene and Simon leaning incredulously over the table. A dense, rich colour, vibrant with atmospheric luminosity renders the figures physically and spiritually alive. The close observation of detail has a post-Caravaggio realism in the brilliant depiction of the servant interrupting the scuffle between a dog and a cat, or of the page bearing a tray of fruit, silhouetted against the sky.