Allegory of the Redemption of the World, 1528–88
Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) (Italian, 1528–1588)
Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, highlighted with white gouache, on gray washed paper; 24 1/8 x 16 9/16 in. (61.3 x 42 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1961 (61.203)
This chiaroscuro drawing, one of the largest known by Veronese, was conceived as an independent work of art. Jonathan Richardson, the noted seventeenth-century English collector of old master drawings, owned this work and inscribed a lengthy explanation of the obscure subject on its verso. Sibyls grouped around the empty tomb of Christ and prophets situated in the clouds above act as intermediaries between the earthly and heavenly realms. The scrolls they hold refer to their prophesies for the redemption of the world, the idea embodied above. There, one sees the Holy Trinity with Christ blessing a kneeling figure—either Adam or Saint John—who is presented by Mary. Veronese, one of the great masters of pictorial representation di sotto in su, imbued the heavenly realm with a lofty character suited to the exalted theme.