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British National Gallery opens blockbuster Veronese exhibition

English.news.cn   2014-03-19 07:42:55

LONDON, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The British National Gallery will open its latest exhibition, featuring the paintings of Renaissance master Veronese on Wednesday.

Paolo Veronese was a star painter, who worked in northern Italy between the late 1540s and his death in 1588, and the exhibition is large, featuring over 50 masterpieces.

Entitled "Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice", the show has been organized by the National Gallery in association with the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona of Italy.

Several works have been lent from art institutions in Austria, France, Spain, the United States and Italy. Some of these have not left Italy for over 200 years.

Principal among the loans is "The Martyrdom of St George", an altarpiece painting from the church of San Giorgio in Verona.

"If I had to choose one painting that showed Veronese at his best I would choose this picture. When I first started on this show this was top of my list for paintings to include," said Xavier Salomon, curator of the exhibition at the press preview on Tuesday.

Painted in around 1565, "it has only left Verona once when Napoleon took it to Paris, and it was then returned to Verona, to its original church, after the Battle of Waterloo," he said, explaining that the painting represented not just great artistic achievement, but was important also for its religious-political status.

Another major piece, "The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine", painted in the late 1560s, is on loan from Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice.

Salmon, who is the chief curator at New York's Frick Collection, said, "This painting combines everything you want to see in a great European painting -- magnificent composition and great painting seen in the wonderful skin tones."

Among the most significant works are a set of allegorical paintings with a theme in classical mythology.

"Mars and Venus United by Love" from the Metropolitan Museum of Art has left the United States for the first time since 1910 to join the National Gallery's "Four Allegories of Love", the only time they have been hung together since the 18th century.

Salomon said the exhibition demonstrated how versatile Veronese was as an artist, able to work on large pieces like "The Martyrdom of St George" for use in church, and smaller pieces for display in domestic rooms.

The exhibition runs from March 19 to June 15 at the National Gallery.

Editor: Shen Qing
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