Artibus et Historiae no. 74 (XXXVII)

2016, ISSN 0391-9064

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BEVERLY LOUISE BROWN - The View from Behind: Veronese, Giulio Romano and the Rape of Europa (pp. 207–222)

During his early career Paolo Veronese assimilated many diverse sources, including the work of Giulio Romano. A sheet of studies by Veronese for The Anointing of David in Vienna also includes a copy of Hieronymus Cock’s 1551 engraving of the Forum of Nerva and sketches for a Rape of Europa, which is either lost or was never carried out. Veronese seems to have been trying to establish a way of showing the sequential episodes of the myth, starting with Europa’s beguilement by Jupiter disguised as a bull and finishing with her abduction across the sea. In these sketches Veronese explored the possibilities of showing a nude Europa from behind on the back of the bull. This exceptionally rare type of depiction had already been done in stucco by Giulio Romano at the Villa Madama in Rome and the Palazzo Te in Mantua. It seems likely that Veronese had access to Giulio’s drawing for the Palazzo Te version. One can point to several other instances when the young Veronese was inspired by Giulio’s drawings, including The Conversion of the Magdalene and the frescoes at La Soranza. He also seems to have known a drawing by Giovanni Battista Bertani for The Rape of Europa frescoed in Palazzo Ducale in Mantua.

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