The Feast of the Holy Family

Paolo Veroneseundated

Kunsthalle Bremen

Kunsthalle Bremen

This unique banquet, transposed to the celestial, is wholly in keeping with the style of the great painter of feasts and banquets, Paolo Veronese. It shows Christ, his mother Mary, and father Joseph as they sit in a loggia adorned with columns, being attended to by angels. Each of the three members of the Holy Family has been assigned a column with a high base, Joseph even having been allotted two of them, an indication of his heightened veneration in the 15th century. At the same time, Jesus, at the center of the composition, is sprinkled with flowers by flying putti. Christ was regarded as the protector of the state authority of Venice, embodied in the personage of the Doge as the representative of the Serenissima. The close relationship of this drawing to Venice also stems from its bluish-gray paper and the eidetic quality of the work. The latter results from the contrasts between light and dark (chiaroscuro) integrated into the composition by the artist. By drawing first with pen and then applying a wash with a brush, he ultimately modeled the effects of light he sought with highlights of opaque white. In the meantime, we know that this drawing is the sixth, and final, work of a series that was highly treasured by collectors even during Veronese’s lifetime.

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  • Title: The Feast of the Holy Family
  • Creator: Paolo Caliari (Veronese)
  • Date Created: undated
  • Physical Dimensions: 397.0 x 530.0 mm
  • Type: drawing
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen. Kupferstichkabinett
  • Medium: Pen and gray and black ink, over traces of black chalk, with gray wash, highlighted in white, on bluish gray paper