Cristo e il centurione (c.1571)

Veronese, Paolo (1528-1588)

Cristo e il centurione (Christ and the Centurion)
Oil on canvas, 192 × 297 cm
Museo del PradoMadrid

With a halo of sainthood over his head, Jesus extends his arm to the centurion who, having converted to the Christian faith, kneels at his feet, as told in the New Testament (Matthew 8, 5-13). The scene takes place in front of an architectural backdrop inspired by the work of the architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). The bright colors worn by the figures are brought out by the white of the strongly lit buildings. The composition of this work is halfway between the previous decade’s decorative manner and the new guidelines set out by the Catholic Church. The work gains dramatic intensity, as both the grandiloquent postures of its characters and their sumptuous clothing recall the theater of that period. This painting belonged to Count Arundel. Following his death in 1646, it was acquired by Felipe IV (1605-1665), who sent it to the Monastery of El Escorial, where it remained in the Prior’s Chapter until it entered the Prado Museum in 1839. (MNP)