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Paolo Caliari was born sometime in the year 1528. At first, his name was Paolo Spezapreda, the latter being the Italian translation to “stonecutter,” his father’s profession. However, he changed his name later to Paolo Caliari.
Around 1541, Veronese began to study under Antonio Badile, who would later become his father-in-law, and by 1544, he was apprenticed by Giovanni Francesco Caroto. Both were leading artists in the Verona art scene. Soon, Veronese’s precocious talents surpassed the level of his master’s workshop. Although the artist was trained on the ways of Mannerism, which was quite popular in Parma, the artist would soon develop his own preferences.
In his late teens, Veronese was already receiving commissions, such as for the altarpiece at the Giustiniani family chapel in San Francesco Della Vigna church. In the same year, along with fellows artists Anselmo Canneri and Veronese Giovanni Battista Zelotti, the artist was encharged of the decoration of the Villa Sorazon. Although only fragments of the said decoration remain, this artwork was pivotal in developing his reputation as an artist.
In 1553, Veronese moved to Venice. There, the artist was able to take advantage of the high demand of Venetian art at the period, mainly due to artworks by Jacopo Tintoretto, Titian, and Giorgione. Soon, the artist would begin to receive commissions from distinguished members of the Venetian society.
It is quite unusual for an artist to have matured his art style during his early twenties. However, Veronese’s artistic prowess was such that he would already consolidate an illustrious career at a very young age. His artworks at the San Sebastiano church, the Marciana Library, and the Ducal Palace would set his position as a Venetian Master.
Soon, the artist was attending commissions by the city’s most influential aristocratic families, such as the Barbaro house. Following the great fire that set upon the Doge’s Palace, Veronese, like Tintoretto, would work extensively in its restoration.
Following the Counter-Reformation, Veronese’s demand would shift from erotic and mythological scenes to smaller devotional compositions. By 1850, the artist, along with his sons and brother, established a workshop. Initially, their production was not considered worthy, which would change a few years later, independently of Veronese’s hand.
Paolo Veronese died of pneumonia on April 19, 1588.