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Oil painting - Christ and the Centurion (Matthew 8:5)
  • Christ and the Centurion (Matthew 8:5)
    Veronese, Paolo
  • Enlarge image

Christ and the Centurion (Matthew 8:5)

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    late 16th century - 17th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Veronese, Paolo (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Constantine Alexander Ionides

  • Museum number:

    CAI.96

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) was an Italian painter and draughtsman who, along with Titian and Tintoretto, was one of the greatest painters of the late Renaissance in Venice. He is known as a supreme colourist and for his illusionistic decorations in both fresco and oil. His large paintings of biblical feasts executed for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially celebrated. He also produced many altarpieces, history and mythological paintings and portraits. Many of his compositional sketches in pen, ink and wash, figure studies in chalk are preserved and he headed a family workshop that remained active after his death.
This canvas appears to be a reduced copy of a work by Veronese now in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (no. 1139). The scene depicts an account in Matthew 8:5-13 in which Christ heals the Centurion's servant. In Capernaum, a Roman centurion came to Christ to beg him to cure his servant-boy who lay at home very sick. When Christ offered to come to the centurion's home, he, as a measure of his faith, said 'you need only say the word and the boy will be cured.' And so it came about.
Veronese and his workshop produced several different interpretations of the subject including works now in Munich, Dresden, and Madrid. There is also a 1763 engraving after the Prado version by P. Monaco.

Physical description

Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) was an Italian painter and draughtsman who, along with Titian and Tintoretto, was one of the greatest painters of the late Renaissance in Venice. He is known as a supreme colourist and for his illusionistic decorations in both fresco and oil. His large paintings of biblical feasts executed for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially celebrated. He also produced many altarpieces, history and mythological paintings and portraits. Many of his compositional sketches in pen, ink and wash, figure studies in chalk are preserved and he headed a family workshop that remained active after his death.
This canvas depicting a kneeling centurion in armour flanked by soldiers before Christ and three disciples at the right, appears to be a reduced copy of a work by Veronese now in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (no. 1139). Veronese and his workshop produced several different interpretations of the subject including works now in Munich, Pinakothek, no. 228; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie; Madrid, Prado. There are also several later versions of these works which may relate to Veronese's drawings or the 1763 engraving after the Prado version of the subject by P. Monaco rather than the original paintings.

Date

late 16th century - 17th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Veronese, Paolo (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 38 cm approx., Width: 69.5 cm approx.

Object history note

Bequeathed by Constantine Alexander Ionides, 1900. Ionides acquired the work, as by Veronese, on 20 January 1883, from Colnaghi, for £30 (his inventory, private collection).
Possibly to be identified with P. Veronese, Christ and the Centurion, a sketch, sold at Christie's, 22 Jan. 1881 (Richard Clemson Barnett sale), lot 94, bought by Colnaghi.

The collection formed by Constantine Ionides includes works of a wide variety of schools, periods and artists. His collection includes Old Masters, 17th century works, contemporary British works and French 19th century works.
Constantine’s plans concerning his collection conformed to a more ‘public-welfare’ vein of thought than his father or brother. He decided to donate his collection to the Victoria & Albert Museum, instead of privately distributing it or disposing of it in a Sales room.

His will states:

'All my pictures both in oil and water colors and crayon or colored chalks (but subject as to my family portraits to the interest herein before given to my said Wife) and all my etchings drawings and engravings to the South Kensington Museum for the benefit of the nation to be kept there as one separate collection to be called "The Constantine Alexander Ionides Collection" and not distributed over the Museum or lent for exhibition. And I desire that the said Etchings Drawings and Engravings shall be framed and glazed by and at the expense of the authorities of the Museum so that Students there can easily see them.'

The collection bequeathed to the museum in 1901 comprises 1138 pictures, drawing and prints, to which a further 20 items were added on the death of his widow in 1920. The works are listed in the V&A catalogue of the Constantine Alexander Ionides collection.

Historical significance: Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) was an Italian painter and draughtsman who, along with Titian and Tintoretto, was one of the greatest painters of the late Renaissance in Venice. He is known as a supreme colourist and for his illusionistic decorations in both fresco and oil. His large paintings of biblical feasts executed for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially celebrated. He also produced many altarpieces, history and mythological paintings and portraits. Many of his compositional sketches in pen, ink and wash, figure studies in chalk are preserved and he headed a family workshop that remained active after his death.
This canvas appears to be a reduced copy of a work by Veronese now in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (no. 1139). The scene depicts an account in Matthew 8:5-13 in which Christ heals the Centurion's servant. In Capernaum, a Roman centurion came to Christ to beg him to cure his servant-boy who lay at home very sick. When Christ offered to come to the centurion's home, he, as a measure of his faith, said 'you need only say the word and the boy will be cured.' And so it came about. Veronese and his workshop produced several different interpretations of the subject including works now in Munich, Pinakothek, no. 228; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie; Madrid, Prado. There are also several later versions of these works which may relate to Veronese's drawings or the 1763 engraving after the Prado version of the subject by P. Monaco rather than the original paintings.

Historical context note

This canvas is painted after a work by Paolo Veronese probably made for private devotion. Christians in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods expressed and strengthened their faith through public rituals, such as celebration of the Eucharist, and personal devotions conducted in a private chapel, monastic cell, or simply in a secluded part of their home. In western Europe, a form of spirituality that emphasized the emotional involvement of the faithful emerged by 1300. Believers were encouraged to contemplate events from the life of Christ, the Virgin, or the saints, as if they were present. Images of the Virgin and Child were among the most popular images for private devotion and these were primarily small religious paintings suitable as a focus for private worship, as opposed to larger altarpieces intended for public display. Such images frequently emphasized the tender relationship between the mother and her child.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Christ and the Centurion (Matthew 8:5)', after Paolo Veronese

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 295-296, cat. no. 369.
Basil S. Long, Catalogue of the Constantine Alexander Ionides collection. Vol. 1, Paintings in oil, tempera and water-colour, together with certain of the drawings.
London : Printed under the authority of the Board of Education, 1925, p. 61
C. Monkhouse, 'The Constantine Ionides Collection' in Magazine of Art, vii, 1884, pp. 36-44, 208-214.
Terisio Pignatti and Filippo Pedrocco, Veronese. Milano : Electa, c1995, vol. 2, p. 508, A17.

Production Note

A reduced copy of the large composition in the Alte Pinakotheke, Munich.
Formerly attributed to Veronese and descived as 'A Doge Kneeling before Christ'

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

The Centurion

Categories

Paintings; Christianity

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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