(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)
Apotheosis of Venice1585
Oil on canvas, 904 x 579 cm
Palazzo Ducale, Venice
This painting was commissioned by the Venetian government for the ceiling of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio of the Palazzo Ducale. It is one of the thirty five panels on the ceiling.
Rising above the bank of clouds, the royally garbed personification of Venice sits enthroned between the twin towers of the city's Arsenal, about to be crowned with laurel by flying victories. Arrayed at her feet and offering her wise counsel are personifications of peace, abundance, fame, happiness, honour, security, and freedom. An especially splendid triumphal arch, fronted by twisting columns, marks the top of an enormous balcony which seems to burst through the ceiling into the ether beyond in order to accommodate the multitudes of celebrating people stipulated in the commission. At the base, Venice's smiling subjects seem undisturbed by the enormous size and energy of careening horsemen in their midst reminder of Venice's considerable military might. Illusionistic foreshortenings and dramatic light effects serve to give political allegory a previously unimagined dynamism and visual excitement.