TORBIDO, Francesco
(b. ca. 1482, Venezia, d. ca. 1561, Verona)

Assumption of the Virgin

Cathedral, Verona

The painting in the apse of the Cathedral of Verona was executed by Francesco Torbido after the design by Giulio Romano.

In the Renaissance period the decoration of the church is frequently focused on the apse and the entrance wall. These terminal walls of extended interior spaces are visible from a great distance, catching visitors' attention. The decoration of the apse towers over the events of mass at the high altar; the decoration of the inside wall of the façade serves as an admonition or reinforcement for the visitors as they leave the liturgical ceremony and the church. Large format in both places called for fundamental, weighty themes.

Examples of large-scale painted apse recesses are common in the areas ruled by Venice but also in Emilia. A large-scale fresco in the apse vault or on an entrance façade could appear to break open the surface of the wall to provide a vision of the heavens or a view of an historical event; alternatively, it could illusionistically extend the existing architecture and enliven it with holy figures. For the archbishop of Verona, Giulio Romano designed a decoration for the chancel of the cathedral that was executed by Francesco Torbido in 11534. The painting placed Renaissance architecture on a Gothic structure. The vault of the apse is decorated with painted coffers, in front of which, at a balustrade, apostles seem to be standing in the church itself. Above the apostles, the Virgin Mary floats in a cloud toward a painted opening in the sky in the vault of the chancel. Thus Nary's Assumption seems to be happening in the church's chancel.

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