The world's greatest painting?

January 8 2014

Image of The world's greatest painting?

Picture: Wikipaintings

I'm very much looking forward to the National Gallery's new Veronese exhibition, which opens on 19th March. In The Guardian today there was an interesting piece on preparations for the show. Apparently one key loan has yet to be confirmed (from an Italian church). Many of Veronese's best works are monumental in size. It sounds like quite a challenge. So we must all sympathise with the show's curator, Xavier Salomon. 

I suppose it's forgivable when doing PR for an exhibition, but Salomon and Nick Penny make some bold claims for Veronese (who I accept is undeniably one of the greats). The artists' c.1564 Martyrdom of St George (San Giorgio in Braida, Verona, above), for example, is cited as 'arguably the world's greatest painting'. Then there's this quote from Salomon:

"Without Veronese there would be no Rubens, no Van Dyck,"

Which is over-egging things just a bit. As his Italian sketchbook shows, Van Dyck (at least) was far more beholden to Titian than he ever was to Veronese.

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