Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
detail of "The Adoration of the shepherds" by
Paolo Veronese (1528 – 1588) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, famous for paintings such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi. He adopted the name Paolo Cagliari or Paolo Caliari, and became known as "Veronese" from his birthplace in Verona.
Veronese, Titian, and Tintoretto constitute the triumvirate of pre-eminent Venetian painters of the late Renaissance (1500s). Veronese is known as a supreme colorist, and for his illusionistic decorations in both fresco and oil. His most famous works are elaborate narrative cycles, executed in a dramatic and colorful Mannerist style, full of majestic architectural settings and glittering pageantry. His large paintings of biblical feasts executed for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially notable. His brief testimony with the Inquisition is often quoted for its insight into contemporary painting technique.
Founded in 1683, The Ashmolean re-opened on Saturday 7th November 2009. Their new display approach is "crossing culture crossing time." It was my first glimpse today, the much loved older museum is still here, but now enormously extended and plenty more to enjoy.
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Ashmolean is currently undergoing a £61 million redevelopment. Award-winning architect Rick Mather has designed a new building to replace all but the Grade I listed Cockerell building. His design will double the existing gallery space, allow environmental control, and create a dedicated Education Centre and conservation facilities.
I've tried to show something of the atmosphere and texture of the museum in many of the photos, I also wanted to convey the sense of movement and people's interaction with the art objects, therefore razor sharp clarity (were I to achieve that) was not my number one objective. This set will grow as I explore the new galleries, I hope you'll forgive me if I do not tag or describe everything right away as there is so much to take in!
Martin Beek Oxford, November 2009