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The Wedding at Cana
Workshop of Veronese, Paolo (Paolo Cagliari)
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Workshop of Veronese, Paolo (Paolo Cagliari)

Verona, 1528 - Venice, 1588

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The Wedding at Cana

Ca. 1562. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

The illustration of this Gospel passage (John 2:1–12) belongs to the sub-genre of ‘suppers’. These paintings that recreated biblical episodes around a table (Cana, Emmaus, etc.) were very popular in Venice between 1560 and 1575. Veronese’s contribution was to represent the suppers as grandiose theatrical shows set in vast architectural settings. These shows portrayed a multitude of figures in contemporary dress, with Christ at the centre of the composition (The Wedding at Cana, 1562–1563; The Supper of Saint Gregory the Great, around 1572; and The Feast in the House of Levi, 1573). Decorations such as columns, pediments and balusters conform to canonical descriptions of the Vitruvian scena tragica and Andrea Palladio’s ideas around set design.

Such a profane interpretation of the ‘suppers’ aroused the suspicion of the Holy Office. In 1573, it demanded that Veronese explain his inclusion of characters from outside the Gospel story in The Feast in the House of Levi. The event was invoked to illustrate post-Tridentine orthodoxy; however, these objections refer to issues that were in force decades earlier, such as the allegedly Protestant criticism of the Church’s wealth. After 1573, Veronese opted for a more stripped-down treatment of these themes, within which this work is placed. However, it lacked the spectacular scenography of earlier works. The inclusion of donors, common practice in this iconography since the 15th century, suggests that it was commissioned for the betrothal of the couple seated on the left. Thus, the Eucharistic significance of the supper at Cana reaffirms the sacramental character of marriage.

The attribution and the timeframe of the work have been disputed. Berenson, in an oral statement, perceived the influence of Badile and therefore considered the work to be made during Veronese’s youth. However, most historians believe that is was made later in his workshop. For example, Larcher Crosato attributed it to Alvise del Friso, Veronese’s nephew. Although no painting of this type appeared in Charles I of Spain’s inventory, the Count of Fuensaldaña acquired it in England for 700 florins. Philip IV the Great allocated it to El Escorial, where it was initially located in the old church. Shortly afterwards, it was transferred to the gallery rooms.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La Almoneda del Siglo: relaciones artísticas entre España y Gran Bretaña, 1604-1655, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2002, p.263, nº 56


Technical data

Related artworks

Las bodas de Caná
Phototype on card, 1900 - 1905
Hauser y Menet
Inventory number
Workshop of Veronese, Paolo (Paolo Cagliari)
The Wedding at Cana
Ca. 1562
Height: 127 cm; Width: 209 cm
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Francisco de los Santos(Jer.), Descripcion breve del Monasterio de S. Lorenzo el Real del E, en la Imprenta Real, Madrid, 1657, pp. fols.51-52.

Francisco de los Santos(Jer.), Descripcion Breve del Monasterio de San Lorenzo el Real del, Jose Fernandez de Buendia, Madrid, 1667, pp. fol. 69-70.

Jiménez, Andrés (Jer.), Descripcion del Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial, Imprenta de Antonio Marin, Madrid, 1764, pp. fol.82.

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España, II, Joachin Ibarra, Madrid, 1773, pp. 129.

Bermejo, Damián, Descripcion artística del Real Monasterio de S. Lorenzo del, [s.n.], Madrid, 1820, pp. 188.

Poleró y Toledo, Vicente, Catálogo de los Cuadros del Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo, llamado del Escorial en el que se comprenden los del Real Palacio, casiono del Príncipe y Capilla de la Fresneda, Imprenta Tejado, Madrid, 1857, pp. 181.

Madrazo, Pedro, Catálogo descriptivo e histórico del Museo del Prado de Madrid, [s.n.], Madrid, 1872, pp. 303-304.

Caliari, Pietro, Paolo Veronese. Sua Vita e Sue Opere, Forzoni e C.Tipografi del Senato, Roma, 1888, pp. 379.

Osmond, Percy H., Paolo Veronese : his career and work, The Sheldon Press, Londres, 1927, pp. 70 y 119.

Fiocco, G., Paolo Veronese 1528-1588, Apollo Bologna, Bolonia, 1928, pp. 201.

Berenson, Bernard1865-1959, The Italian Painters of the Renaissance, Oxford University PressHumphrey M., Londres : Oxford, 1932, pp. 423.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado : catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1963, pp. 755-759.

Andrés, Gregorio de, Relación anónima del siglo XVII, Archivo español de arte y arqueología, 44, 1971.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 758-759.

Arte Veneta, XXX, 1976, pp. 106-119.

Marini, Remigio, La obra pictórica completa del Veronés, Noguer, Barcelona : Madrid, 1976, pp. nº 355.

Pignatti, Terisio, Veronese: l'opera completa, Alfieri, Venecia, 1976, pp. nº A172 / lám. 870.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: pintura italiana anterior a 1600, Gredos, Madrid, 1979, pp. 197.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 755.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº453.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, Catálogo de las colecciones históricas de pintura veneciana, Editorial Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1991, pp. 156-157.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y la monarquía hispánica: usos y funciones de la pintura veneciana en España (siglos XVI y XVII), Nerea, Madrid, 1994, pp. 294-295, n. 120.

Bettagno, Alessandro, El Museo del Prado, Fonds MercatorFundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, pp. 245.

La Fiesta en la Europa de Carlos V, Sociedad Estatal para la Commemor, Sevilla, 2000, pp. 388, nº 81.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La Almoneda del Siglo: relaciones artísticas entre España y Gran Bretaña, 1604-1655, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2002, pp. 263, nº 56.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 453.
Pablo Veronés/ 453. Jesús en las bodas de Caná/ Este cuadro perteneció á la Galeria de Carlos 1º de Inglaterra. (E.)/ Alto 4 pies, 6 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 7 pies, 6 pul.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 534.

Exhibitions +

La Almoneda del Siglo. Relaciones artísticas entre España y Gran Bretaña, 1604 - 1655
15.03.2002 - 02.06.2002

La fiesta en la Europa de Carlos V
19.09.2000 - 26.11.2000

Update date: 25-05-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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