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


Oil on canvas, diameter 230 cm
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice

This tondo belongs to a series of 21 such circular pictures adorning the ceiling of the great room of the Libreria Vecchia. Sansovino and Titian awarded the work a golden chain as the best painting, the chain being later recorded in the estate of Veronese's heirs. The Libreria Vecchia housed not only reading and lecture rooms but also the offices of the procurators. It is not known whether a specific program and defined sequence underlay the decoration. Even the iconography of most of the pictures throws up puzzles.

Corresponding to the purpose of the room and function of the building, the pictures illustrate allegories of education, the arts and sciences. Contemporary commentators related the decoration to the good conduct of government and its foundations, which required not just a virtuous, but also an erudite ruler.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Francesco da Milano: Tre fantasie for lute