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Paolo Caliari (Veronese)

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  • caitlin_oduibhir
    I m analysing his Bella Nani (1560) portrait right now, and something has me bugged. I am trying to establish just how much flight of fancy he has going on
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2004
      I'm analysing his "Bella Nani" (1560) portrait right now, and
      something has me bugged.
      I am trying to establish just how much flight of fancy he has going
      on in this portrait. Yes, it's pretty plain as far as detail does,
      but bear with me.
      I am trying to finalise the plan of attack on the jewelry in this
      painting. First of all, I have never seen or read anything about
      anything that looks like those "pauldrons". They look to me like a
      feminised variant of plate armour. There is plenty of support
      referring to female fashion reflecting military silhouette and
      styling during times of war. However, upon a superficial search,
      there are no notable wars going on during this period (notable in
      that it wasn't special enough to have its' own name, there was of
      course the ongoing border battles, the Turkish wars, etc.) that would
      justify this portrait being one of propaganda in nature.
      Then I started looking at other paintings by Veronese. For the most
      part dramatic religious/mythical paintings, donor paintings, the odd
      bit of patrician reality, and some portraits. I looked specifically
      at jewelry. Portraits (exception being Bella Nani) have very little
      on the sitter. The normal amount one would expect - rings, bracelets,
      and pearls - lots and lots of pearls. Donor paintings and mythical
      paintings - way up there. Large, chunky bits of gold and gem
      architecture pinned to bodices. And consistent in purpose too - all
      of them are holding on some kind of cloak. Interesting configuration
      too, Two largish pins attached to the cloak, connected by chain or
      plaque belt to a larger middle pin which is holding the cloak from
      sliding back via pinning to the bodice. There was one that was some
      exotic bit of strapwork on a nude that was held closed by a large gem
      brooch between the breasts. Although not quite as dramatic, this
      three brooch configuration also shows up on the "Marriage at Cana" on
      the chest of the Bride (with the plaque variant in place of chain).
      Does anyone know anything more about this painting? Does it have some
      kind of significance I am unaware of? Does it seem to everyone else
      the painter had more fun than he deserved adding fantastic bits of
      jewelry to this painting? There is nothing in this painting that
      suggests that this is a donor painting intended to make the sitter
      look like a saint, so I can't see the purpose behind jazzing this
      woman up with such large pieces of goldsmithing.

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