"The Wedding at Cana" Introduction (02:39)
The Republic of Venice in the late 16th century was wealthy, independent from Rome, and had reached an artistic peak. Paolo Veronese completed his masterpiece in 1563.
"The Wedding at Cana" Background and Composition (02:56)
San Giorgio Maggiore monks chose the scene of Christ's first miracle for the refectory. The work should extend the space designed by Palladio and contain as many figures and colors as possible. Hear an analysis of the painting's perspective.
"The Wedding at Cana" Story (02:57)
Palladio's Teatro Olimpico and ancient Roman architecture inspired Veronese's work. He presents figures as they appear in the Gospel of St. John; hear a narrative of the miracle of turning water to wine.
Republic of Venice Painters (02:13)
An 18th century art critic hypothesized that Veronese represented himself, Titian, and Tintoretto as musicians; Titian was a contemporary of Rafael and Da Vinci. Tintoretto's "The Miracle of the Slave" proved him a rival to Titian. Competitions for state commissions encouraged new artists.
Venice Renaissance Architect (02:38)
Veronese apprenticed with his father, a stone craftsman, and used Palladio's architecture to structure his painting. Before "The Wedding at Cana," he painted frescoes at the Villa Barbaro. An expert discusses Palladio's aesthetic philosophy.
"The Wedding at Cana" Production (01:31)
Veronese used oils on canvas when painting Venice works, because the sea air degrades mural frescoes. He sketched compositions and employed assistants to scale them up. Consider his brush techniques.
Venice in the 16th Century (02:36)
Learn about the city's economic strength, political stability, and independence from Rome. A complex governance system protected against power abuse and artists enjoyed freedom from religious censorship.
Combining the Sacred and Profane (02:32)
Veronese used butchers to represent the Eucharist and musicians to symbolize the ages of life. Satirist Aretino inspired "The Wedding at Cana."
Setting the Scene (02:39)
"The Wedding at Cana" may reflect the crowning of the Dogaressa Zilia Dandolo. Veronese designed stage costumes. Theatrical subject dress and picturesque details upset viewers, including Eugène Delacroix—two centuries later.
"The Last Supper" Controversy (02:37)
In the decade after "The Wedding at Cana," Veronese produced six paintings inspired by Biblical feasts. The last one earned a summons to the Inquisition—ending his dream of freedom from censorship. Venice declined and Napoleon later took "The Wedding at Cana" back to France.
Credits: The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings (00:36)
Credits: The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings
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