Paolo Veneziano's Pattern & Decoration
|Paolo Veneziano, The Birth and First Miracle of Saint Nicholas, 1346. Uffizi Gallery, Florence|
Paolo Veneziano (c. 1295 to c. 1362) is getting his first single-artist show at age c. 726. The Getty Center's "Paolo Veneziano: Art and Devotion in 14th-Century Venice," through Oct. 3, 2021, is one room with ten paintings plus a few comparative works. That is is big enough to hint at how Paolo's color harmonies prefigured that of the Bellinis, Titian, and Veronese. It also provides an introduction to Paolo's innovative use of pattern. In The Birth and First Miracle of Saint Nicholas, Baby Claus delivers a sermon one hour after his birth, yet the eye is drawn to the jazzy, op-art stripes of the bed and the elegant pattern of the red pillow.
|Paolo Veneziano, The Annunciation, about 1340-45. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles|
|Reconstruction of "Worcester Triptych" with missing Madonna|
|Unknown maker (Persian), Textile with Birds, Leaves, and Arabesques, 1300s. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York|
|Paolo Veneziano, Madonna and Child, about 1340. The Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena|
The patterns of Paolo's painted fabrics do not conform to the folds of the painted fabric but exist in their own otherworldly plane. This rejection of incipient 3D naturalism in favor of a pattern-dense uncanny valley became an element of the evolving International Gothic Style.
A particularly choice example is the 1358 Coronation of the Virgin, created in collaboration with son Giovanni and considered to be Paolo's last painting. It's a rare loan from the Frick Collection, which conceived the show in collaboration with the Getty but had to drop out as a second venue because of pandemic scheduling.
|Paolo Veneziano and Giovanni Veneziano, The Coronation of the Virgin, 1358. The Frick Collection, New York|