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

Aged Oriental with a Young Woman

Oil on canvas, 286 x 150 cm
Palazzo Ducale, Venice

This oval painting is on the left of the main picture (Jupiter Hurling Thunderbolts at the Vices) on the ceiling of the Sala del Consiglio dei Dieci in the Palazzo Ducale.

For the Venetian painter Palma il Giovane, it was a masterpiece of painting: in this, he considered Veronese had achieved something extraordinary, successfully blending the greatest advances made in antiquity with his own maniera. The subject of the picture is not known, the modern name being just for convenience. The bearded old man, sunk in thought on the ruins of ancient architecture, may have reminded Palma of pictures of classical philosophers.

There are many interpretative cruxes in the introspective allegory, whose subject is as obscure as its colour is bright: Youth and Old Age, or Venice and the East, or Venus and Saturn.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.