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

Daniele Barbaro

Oil on canvas, 121 x 106 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Around 1560-61, Veronese was commissioned by Daniele Barbaro to provide the interior frescoes for Barbaro's Palladian villa in Maser. The artist and his client had probably been acquainted since the early 1550s. A dating of 1556 has been suggested, based on Barbaro's edition of Vitruvius published in 1556 and the two volumes of this edition lying on the table. However, in view of the rather more aged appearance of the subject, a dating to the first half of the 1560s looks preferable. The upended book in front of a globe depicts a small putto on the left pointing with a rod at a geometrical proportion drawing. As this figure appears in the corresponding illustration of the Vitruvius edition sideways on, slightly averted and also wholly without clothing, it might be presumed that it was Veronese himself who provided the drawing on which this illustration is based. Likewise, the volume on the table - the page open shows parts of the title page of the Dieci libri - alludes to the clerics real sphere of activity. Though he had been appointed Patriarch of Aquileia, he devoted himself mainly to humanistic studies and architectural theory. Veronese catches the physiognomy of the subject and his apparatus in paint with unusual precision. This was evidently a response to his client, whose interest lay in precision in his own field of activity.