Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 97



96
The taste for Paolo Veronese in early Stuart London
The taste for Paolo Veronese in early Stuart London
architect he admired above all, Andrea Palladio. On
the other hand, unlike the other three, Arundel never
went to Spain, where the work of Titian made such
an overwhelming impression not only on the future
king, but also on his companions, Buckingham and
Hamilton, during the ill-fated visit of 1623. To judge
from the Arundel inventory of 1655, Titian and
Veronese were just two of a number of artists whose
work the earl sought to acquire during a collecting
career of at least thirty years.
THE ARUNDEL COLLECTION
Fig. 4 / Peter Paul Rubens,
Portrait of Thomas Howard,
2nd Earl of Arundel, 16291630, oil on canvas, 67 x
54 cm, London, National
Gallery.
Hailed by Horace Walpole as the “Father of Vertu
in England,” the Earl of Arundel has always been
recognized not just as a pioneer, but as one of the
most intelligent and discriminating of all British art
collectors (fig. 4).14 His collection was built up over
a much longer period than those of his rivals at the
courts of James and Charles; he liked to choose
carefully, and tended to avoid bulk purchases; and his
taste was catholic, extending to drawings and antique
sculptures, as well as paintings, and extending to
German as well as the much more fashionable Italian
art. Unlike Charles, Buckingham, and Hamilton, none
of whom went to Italy, Arundel had visited Venice
and the Veneto, and he clearly shared the general
admiration for the Venetian contemporaries of the
The inventory, which dates from nine years after
Arundel’s death in exile in Padua in 1646, lists
eighteen works by, or attributed to Veronese –
or rather twenty-five, if four paintings of The
Seasons and five designs for tapestries are counted
individually. In the absence of any proper record
of the chronology of the earl’s acquisitions – it is not
known, for example, what, if any, paintings he might
have acquired during his visits to the Veneto in 1613,
1614, and 1645-1646 – this document provides by
far the fullest source of information for his interest
in the artist. Otherwise – apart from his purchase of
the Somerset pictures in 1616 – the documentation
consists essentially of only two items. One is the
record of the visit by the Dutch painter Joachim
Sandrart to Arundel House in 1627, in which he
makes tantalizing mention of portraits “by Raphael of
Urbino, by Leonardo da Vinci, by Titian, Tintoretto
and Paul Veronese” on display in the Long Gallery –
but without specifying what these works were.15 The
other principal document regarding Veronese is a
passing comment in the Voyage through Italy of 1670
by Richard Lassels to the effect that Arundel had
once offered two thousand pistols for the magnificent
Martyrdom of Saint George in the church of San Giorgio
in Braida in the painter’s native city of Verona.16 Since
Arundel’s agent William Petty is known to have been
in Verona in October 1637, it has been suggested
that the offer was made on this occasion – and that
furthermore, since so tall a work would hardly have
fitted comfortably into his Long Gallery, Arundel
wished to present it to Saint George’s Chapel at
Windsor Castle, the seat of the Order of the Garter.17
Certainly, the acquisition of a large and splendid
celebration of the patron saint of England would
have been symbolically a highly appropriate one by
the Earl Marshal, quite independent of any particular
taste for Veronese. The offer, however, was evidently
not accepted by the canons of San Giorgio, and the
altarpiece remains in place to this day.
TABLE I Veronese in the Arundel Collection
Title in 1655 inventory
Destination post-1655
Present whereabouts
3. Assentione di Nr Sigre
Imstenraedt. Cologne
Olomouc (fig. 7)
4. St Helena
De Flines, Amsterdam
NG, London (fig. 6)
5. ritratto di gentilhomo
Haro, Madrid (?)
(Cust and Cox, 1911,
pp. 282-286, 323-324)
1. ritratto di gentildonna
2. altro ritratto di gentildonna
6. ritratto di donna
7. ritratto di homo vecchio
8. Anunciata
Haro, Madrid
9. Nascita d’Ercole
Haro, Madrid
10. quarto stagioni 4 pezzi
Haro, Madrid
11. Le tre Re
Haro, Madrid
12. Iola & Hercule
Haro/ Philip IV
Prado (fig. 3)
13. Vertu & Vitio
Haro/ Philip IV
Prado (fig. 2)
Haro/ Philip IV
Prado (fig. 5)
14. ritratto di Paulo Veronese
15. Venus et Cupido
16. 5 pezzi fatto per tapesseria
17. il Centurione grande
18. il Centurione piccolo
Fig. 5 / Paolo Veronese,
Christ and the Centurion,
ca. 1570, oil on canvas,
192 x 297 cm, Madrid,
Museo Nacional del Prado.
97
The inventory of 1655 consists of a list of paintings
from the Arundel collection sold in Amsterdam
following the death of the Earl’s widow there the
previous year. Although by this date some of the
collection had already been dispersed, the total
of eighteen (or twenty-five) paintings by Veronese
listed in Table I was roughly equal to that owned by
Buckingham, as was roughly also their overall quality.
The six portraits – three male and three female (I. 1, 2,
5, 6, 7, 14) – are the hardest works to trace, especially
since in only one case (a supposed self-portrait) is the
sitter named. The list of works acquired from the
Arundel collection by Cárdenas for Haro, however,
itemizes another male portrait, in full length, by
then identified as Marcantonio Colonna18 – and this
presumably corresponds to no. 5 on the Table (“ritratto
di gentilhomo”). Colonna (1535-1584) was a personage
well known in Spain, as a military ally in the wars
against the Turks and as viceroy of Spanish Sicily,
and he visited Venice in 1570 immediately before the
Battle of Lepanto. On the other hand, there is no
record that he sat to Veronese, and it may well be that
the identification of him as the sitter was a matter of
fantasy. In any case, the portrait was soon to disappear
from inventories of the Haro family collection.
More importantly, as can be seen from Table I,
Luis de Haro was unquestionably the recipient
of the cream of Veronese’s subject pictures in
the Arundel collection. In addition to the three
“Hercules” paintings already discussed (I.9, 12, 13),
Cárdenas bought for him at least two large narrative
paintings measuring nearly two by three metres – an
Annunciation and a Christ and the Centurion (nos. I.8, 17),
together with the Four Seasons (no. 10), and a somewhat
smaller Adoration of the Magi (I.11).19 Of all these, the
Christ and the Centurion is the only one now definitely
recognizable, in the painting of ca. 1570-1572
now in the Prado (fig. 5), which, like two of the
“Hercules” paintings, Haro donated to the king.20
This noble masterpiece is surely exactly the kind of
work that Philip had in mind when in 1646 he asked
Cárdenas to look out for paintings by Veronese;
and perhaps equally impressive was the now lost
Annunciation, which according to a Haro inventory of
1689 showed the holy figures complemented by an
architectural foreground with four columns, and a
background of cypress trees.21 The same inventory
mentions that the Adoration of the Magi contained one
of Veronese’s trademark figures, “a page-boy dressed
in white.”22

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