104.5 cm x 82.9 cm (41 1/8 in. x 32 5/8 in.)
Workshop of Paolo Veronese
(Verona, Italy, 1528 - 1588, Venice, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Of the great Venetian painters of the sixteenth century, Paolo Veronese was the most systematic and subtle in exploring the action, formal implications, and even expressive meanings of light upon color. Early in his development, the forms had been quite arbitrary and the result stylish but implausible. Steadily, his design was regularized according to classical models, his palette reached an unprecedented optical range, and his light became naturalistically descriptive. A small altarpiece probably for private devotion, this picture sets the Virgin and the archangel Gabriel in a handsome loggia, like that of an actual villa by Palladio, with whom the artist often collaborated. It is one of numerous late versions of the subject, with no sign of the workshop participation that had become frequent by then. The highlights have lost little of their energy, coursing across the surfaces and infusing the work with a metaphoric vitality. The figures, however, have been simplified in shape, their cadence slowed and their gesture subdued. And the palette is relatively restricted and uniform in value. In such paintings, the heroic splendor of the artist’s mature style yields to something less calculated and more reflective.
The Suida-Manning Collection includes two other paintings from the same period, each a fragment from a larger composition.
The composition depends upon a painting by Tintoretto.
Infrared examination by Stephen Gritt (Feb. 2010) revealed no variation between underdrawing and execution.