Veronese at the National Gallery until 15 June 2014

Taking one example of flawless composition – “Iseppo da Porto and his son Leonida” (1552) is a timeless portrayal of the relationship between father and son at the point at which perfection reigns.

Colour, which beats a powerful rhythm in Veronese’s paintings, is pared down in a portrait of umbers and blacks.

The father stands sturdily, leaning slightly in to his son. His eyes, horizontal against the verticals of the simple architecture around him, create the stability around which everything else revolves. He looks directly back at the viewer, self-possessed, weighing up your gaze without inhibition.

blog.iseppo_da_porto_-veroneseHis son, with the same but less steady stance, head on one side, eyes on the diagonal, curves in to the man, touches his thumb and wraps his other arm around his father’s, and in this small space of hands, child’s face and shoulders a constant motion is set up, weaving around the father’s weighty arm.?The son’s cautious, interested glance to the left and the easy affection of his pose implies security and pleasure in his relationship.

There is a circle rotating at the centre of this universe, through the man’s left arm and gloved hand, his fur trim, his child’s hands and arms, round up through the man’s right arm and shoulders – an unending, binding circular link. Everything else, his deep fur collar, the folds of his cape, the child’s head and fur trim, leads determinedly back to the man, to his face and his powerfully steady outward gaze – stability in a world of constant motion.

This is a brilliant exhibition.

Exhibition Details: