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

Venice, Hercules, and Ceres

1575
Oil on canvas, 309 x 328 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

This painting, which dates from 1575, originally decorated the ceiling of the Magistrato delle Biade in the Doge's Palace. In the skilful perspective and in the limpid intensity of tone the figures stand out against the blue sky broken by white-gold clouds achieving a perfect balance in space with a rhythmic natural elegance and olimpian beauty. Even the figures in half-light are endowed with the same intense luminous colour. The figure of Venice enthroned is of particular beauty. As usual, Venice is enthroned in glory, but for once the triumphant fanfares, and even Hercules's club yield centre stage to the luxuriance of Ceres's wheat, and of her body.