VERONESE, Paolo
(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)

Martyrdom of St George

c. 1564
Oil on canvas, 426 x 305 cm
San Giorgio in Braida, Verona

Framed by a concave aedicule with double Corinthian columns, this large painting adorns the high altar of the church, the reconstruction of which materially involved Veronese's patron Michele Sanmicheli in 1552. After the completion of the architecture of the high altar, i.e. soon after 1564, work started on the iconographically unconventional altarpiece under the influence of Tridentine reformist ideas. It omits the gruesome torture of the martyrdom, concentrating instead on the saint's moment of intercession. The central figure is incorporated in a group composition full of movement. The scene of the martyr's unclothing is exaggerated by the presence of the Madonna in a bank of clouds accompanied by Sts Peter, Paul and the cardinal virtues Faith, Hope and Charity.