Venice and our guided tours of the Accademia Galleries

A masterpiece by Paolo Veronese
There are so many wonderful works of art that we would like to show you on a guided tour in Venice.
A real masterpiece of the Venetian painting that we particularly love is the altarpiece “The mystic marriage of St. Catherine from Alexandria”, by Paolo Veronese, today preserved at the Accademia Galleries in our city.
It was painted by this great master of the Italian Renaissance in 1575 for the main altar of St. Catherine’s Church in Venice.

The mystic marriage of St. Catherine from Alexandria (Paolo Veronese, Ca. 1575)
St. Catherine’s story
The legend has it that Saint Catherine was born in the III century in Alexandria of Egypt. As the daughter of a king, she received good education and several suitors asked to marry her, but she decided to become a Christian and to dedicate her entire life to Jesus Christ. She was then condemned by the Roman emperor to be martyrized on the wheel and eventually executed, since she had refused to marry him and to worship pagan divinities.
The subject painted by Paolo Veronese comes from a legendary episode of the Saint’s life: she dreamt of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus and of her mystical marriage with Christ, as a sign of her devotion to the Christian faith.

The subject of the altarpiece

The subject of this masterpiece is the dream of the young lady. The mystical union is sealed with the ring that Baby Jesus puts on Catherine’s finger, as the Saint kneels down in front of him. The scene takes place on a staircase, in front of a large group of angels who are playing musical instruments or singing or simply flying down towards the main characters.

Detail with the ring

Veronese’s skills: bright colors and incredible realism
In this painting Veronese uses mainly bright, intense colors, so typical in the Venetian tradition that comes directly from the vibrant mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica.
He also perfectly shows his skills in the realistic representation of the different kinds of fabrics: soft and opulent, or smooth and shining, or even light and transparent… they are so realistic that we can imagine we can caress the silk, or feel the softness of the velvet, or admire the transparency of the veils…

Detail with velvet fabric

Detail with silk fabric

And what about the jewels? The crowns shine as if they were made out of real gold, the precious pearls are amazing in their brightness…

Detail with jewels

The setting
In this painting, as in other ones, Veronese once again proves to be an excellent architect in creating the scenery: the steps, decorated with elegant bas-reliefs, lead diagonally towards the two columns on the left, which stand so tall that they seem to continue beyond the borders of the canvas.

Detail with the steps

All around, angels sing, play musical instruments and fly over the clouds in a light blue and golden sky.

Detail with angels in the sky

Come and meet us in Venice! You will be able to admire all this beauty for real and feel the charm of Paolo Veronese’s intense bright colors. Ciao!