The Apotheosis of Venice by Paolo Veronese

The Apotheosis of Venice

Title: The Apotheosis of Venice
Artist: Paolo Veronese
Location: Doges Palace, Venice
Medium: Oil on canvas
Date: 1585
Dimensions: 904 x 579 cm

The Apotheosis of Venice, also known as the Triumph of Venice, is a mythological allegory about the fight for peace and justice in Venice. The painting itself is of the victory that Venice had over the Pope and other Italian city-states. Veronese painted Mary as the allegorical figure for Venice. She is being crowned by Victory on top of clouds showing the audience that she is being taken up to heaven. At the bottom of the painting is the Rape of Europa which is the story of Europe’s art heritage and its survival. To provide a little bit of history, the Triumph of Venice painting is located in the Doge’s Palace because of the story behind the painting with the Doge. Leonardo Loredan was the 76th Doge in Venice; this was during the time of the War of the League of Cambria and the burgeoning of fine arts. At the time that Loredan was Doge, Italy was not very unified, rather, there was much division between states specifically with the Venetian republic and papal states. When Pope Alexander VI died two years after Loredan became Doge, Julius II took over. Under his reign, instead of letting the Venetian Republic control the territories, he created a feud with Spain, France, and the Roman Empire called the League of Cambria. His reason for this was to diminish influence on Northern Italy from the Venetians. With this in mind, the Papal states were afraid that, if Venice became the most powerful of all, it would eventually turn all the other papal states against the pope and God. However, in 1510, the papal states and the Venetian Republic became allies once again which led France to take over Padua, a Venetian city. Soon enough, the pope turned against Venice; therefore, bringing France and Venice together. They forced the pope to pay his debts and was able to regain any lost land including Padua. This meant victory over the League of Cambria. From this, Venetian art became popular; expressing their love for Venice through art. Two hundred years after Loredan died, Pompeo Batoni painted The Triumph of Venice in which Veronese looked to for his Apotheosis of Venice painting. In Apotheosis of Venice painting, Mary is the center figure that represents the virgin-Venice. She is being glorified and crowned for having victory over the Pope and gaining justice just as Mary is glorified for being the Queen of the Kingdom of Heaven. The rest of the painting depicts the different areas of Venetian society for example citizens from the papal states and the city-states. As far as the Rape of Europa, during World War II, the Nazis threatened to destroy any form of art that was related to history. The bottom of the painting is of the struggle for artistic freedom. The Venetian skies, animals, and historical stories were typical paintings of Veronese. He had a variety of artwork ranging from religious to secular paintings such as the Triumph of Venice and the Crucifixion.

Works Cited:

Artble. Doge Leonardo Loredan Story-Theme. 

http://www.artble.com/artists/giovanni_bellini/paintings/doge_leonardo_loredan/more_information/story-theme

Foundation Museums Venice. Palazzo Ducale. 

http://www.museiciviciveneziani.it/frame.asp?pid=1003&z=2&tit=Percorsi%20e%20collezioni

The Rape of Europa. The Story. National Endowment for the Humanities.

http://therapeofeuropa.com/

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