Edward Grasman: On Closer Inspection - the Interrogation of Paolo Veronese

Im Rahmen der wissenschaftlichen Gespräche der Selbständigen Nachwuchsgruppe

In his lecture, Edward Grasman discusses a famous topic: the interrogation of Paolo Veronese by the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Venice on July 18, 1573, regarding his Last Supper for the Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Notwithstanding some useful publications, in particular by Gino Fogolari, Philipp Fehl, Michelangelo Muraro and Paul Kaplan, our knowledge of the context in which this interrogation should be situated, is still rather rudimentary. Some basic facts, at least in the opinion of the lecturer, have never been introduced into the discussion and other facts have been presented in quite a tendentious way.

This lecture develops an argument that leads to an explanation of why Veronese had to appear before the Inquisition and why the defense of his painting is decidedly weak, while his opponent, the Inquisitor Aurelio Schellino, is remarkably well informed about this painting.

No more than a few weeks after the interrogation of Veronese the other major Venetian painter, Jacopo Tintoretto, also ran into trouble because of his paintings, delivered several years before, in the Scuola di San Marco. This lecture argues that it is no coincidence that both artists - and there were hardly any other painters active in Venice during these years - had to face in the same period similar problems, solving them in similar ways.

Edward Grasman (1953) works at the Art History Department of Leiden University. He studied art history at Utrecht University and received a Ph.D. from Leiden University, where he wrote his dissertation on the reception of Vasari’s Vite, focusing on Venice and Bologna. His studies are mostly concerned with historiographical problems from the sixteenth century onwards, in the field of both Italian and Netherlandish art. Forthcoming is his book about Horst Gerson (†1978), celebrated connoisseur of seventeenth-century Netherlandish painting, as well as the first volume of the Italian letters in the Frits Lugt Collection (Fondation Custodia, Paris), edited in cooperation with Hans Bloemsma and Henk van Veen.

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