VIDEO: A Moment in Art History – The Wedding Feast at Cana – the story of the Mona Lisa’s gargantuan neighbor

How a huge painting by Italian Paolo Veronese was taken from an Italian basilica by Napoleon’s army, ended up in the Louvre, and why it’s still there.

Art in the background of this video.

Butterflies by Christie Hackler: https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/christie-hackler

Glass flower by Ana Maria Botero: https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/ana-maria-botero

Landscapes on concrete by Charlie Barr: https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/charlie-barr

Parts of the video script were sourced from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wedding_at_Cana
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paolo_Veronese

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

13 Comments

  1. I Love these Moments in Art History videos. Keep them up! I have been fortunate to paint in the Louvre twice in my lifetime. This brought me back to my days of wondering the floors that where open when my floor where closed because of strikes. One of the reasons the “Mona Lisa” is so popular is that she was the First portrait painting of a subject, not the patron. It also was the First portrait with a landscape background and not the traditional dark background. The Pride and Joy of the Sun king. Delacroix one upped this with “Orphan Girl in the Cemetery”, (one of the paintings I copied) adding a scared “emotion” and portraying a person of color to the mix. Notice how they are very similar backgrounds. The general public just flocks to her because she was stollen and found, most don’t even know why they want to see her. So many gems in the Louvre. Paris is to radical to try to paint there anymore, I have now focused on copying in our National Gallery, but with Covid.. I don’t know when I get to apply to paint again.

  2. Wow. Great video. How does someone paint that many figures, that large and all the wedding activity in just one year? I have so many technical questions. Unfortunately Paolo is not around to answer them!

    1. How does someone get to paint that many figures, that large and all the wedding activity in just one year? With lots of help, that’s how! Most of these masterpieces were usually 80% painted by the artists assistants and apprentices, with the master painter providing directions and reserving for himself the faces and hands, or the entirety, of the main characters and all the standout elements in the composition. I cannot state that this IS the case with this particular painting, but it was for the majority of larger paintings in that period.

  3. I enjoyed this “Moment in art History.” I have at least 20 hrs. of Art History from an undergraduate and graduate degree and I never stop learning from the masters of the past such as Veronese. The manipulation of this huge painting between two countries is amazing and the damage that it incurred.
    This reminds me of how the Louvre was cleaned out virtually overnight before the Nazi’s invaded France. A lot of the artifacts were scattered all over the countryside. When France was liberated, most of these artifacts were returned to the Louvre. There have been a few of these artifacts discovered in barns, etc., throughout the country and they have been returned to the Louvre.

  4. Wow! Jason, your moments in Art History continue to amaze and educate me. I majored in Art and our Art History lessons were in mass classes, where the professor lectured and did slide shows. Learned so much, but seems there is always more to learn. We were at the Lourve in January 2020 for the purpose of enjoying the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit…the very first time it was out of Italy.
    Particularly enjoyable , as far as Art History goes are the streaming of Waldemar Januszak; Dark Ages, which I learned was not DARK in terms of Art,,is the beginning..going through Baroque, Renaissance..all..
    what a wonderful present to us that love Art History..if you haven’t yet seen them.
    I love your presentations…please keep it up….Yes…The Nightwatch was cut, also and then restored to what it would look like as original size. We saw the ‘Mona Lisa’ at another gallery while in France. What
    a crowd…no one looking at her..just busy taking selfies and photos of her…Rather unpleasant sight.
    The very first time I saw HER..she was in the Louve, roped off, with all these students busy sketching her..I enjoyed that the most.
    OH…The Wedding Feast..incredible…learned so much from your talk…there is almost too much in the painting…takes awhile to digest.
    Thank-you again for sharing this with us.

  5. Thanks for the interesting story. When I was at the Louvre more than 20 years ago, I wanted to see the Mona Lisa first. And I was also very surprised at how small the size of this canvas is compared to other outstanding masterpieces. Unfortunately, I had very little time, so I inspected many paintings too quickly.

  6. Thanks for making this video! Really enjoyed it – and, even though I have seen the painting in person, you added content that I wish I had had at the time I saw it. Thanks, Jason.

  7. Thank-you for this very fascinating bit of art history! Previously, I was aware of Titian and Tintoretto, but not of Paolo Veronese, so his artwork was totally new to me. And I happen to love this painting! Though of course no one paints scenes like this today, I find them incredibly interesting, and the rendition of the huge cast of people in this work is truly astoundingly well done, so I’m very glad you chose this painting to speak about. Your presentation of its history was also fascinating. I would love one day to just stand before this artwork, and let its enormity penetrate my consciousness. There is something really remarkable in large scale works that have the depth of nuance and feeling that occurs in smaller masterwork art and is not just of the “mural variety” of large scale works that are often really just caricatures of the people represented, or clearly propagandized scenes without detail, nuance or feeling. This huge painting truly accomplishes intimate detail and deep feeling, and leaves me in awe.

    Many years ago, when the first buildings of the World Financial Center (now called Brookfield Plaza after its developers) were erected, I discovered, in the lobby of the American Express building, a series of seascapes commissioned by American Express and painted by Craig McPherson, consisting of major harbors of the world. They are among the most amazing paintings I have ever seen, of a quality that is close to JMW Turner, and certainly the largest paintings I have ever seen. I used to go to that building just to spend hours in that lobby. Miraculously, they survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent collapse of the Twin Towers which were just several hundred feet away from the Amex building, though everything in the lobby was totally inundated with dust, plaster, smoke and debris – these artworks are still on view today, and I encourage any art lover who is in NYC to make the trip to the Amex Building to see them – its an awe-inspiring experience (several of the 10 paintings are over 40 feet long, and 2 are over 50 feet long, and they are stunningly beautiful – here are some details from Craig McPherson’s website —
    ” The Harbors of the World mural cycle is composed of ten paintings: New York, February, Night, 11.3 x 42.6 feet, and Venice, April, Early Morning, 11.3 x 42.6 feet. These harbor views on the AmEx Tower’s north walls represent two of the northern hemisphere’s great trading and financial capitals, both historic and modern. A triptych of Istanbul and the Golden Horn on the east walls is composed of Istanbul, July, Mid- Morning, 11.3 x 51.8 feet, with two pendant panels illustrating interior views, Covered Bazaar and Haghia Sophia, Interior, both 11.3 x 10.8 feet. The mezzanine’s south walls face the high arch of the Brookfield Palm Court. These panels depict the southern hemisphere with one continuous elliptical curve linking Sydney, December, Early Afternoon, 11.3 x 42.6 feet and Rio de Janeiro, March, Later Afternoon, 11.3 x 42.6 feet. Finally, on the west walls representing Asia, a triptych of the Hong Kong harbor includes the steep diagonals of the Peak overlooking the South China Sea and the city’s glittering buildings, markets and ships. This group is composed of: Hong Kong, October, Twilight, 11.3 x 51.8 feet; Pottinger Street outdoor market, 11.3 x 10.8 feet and the container ship, The Shaplaeverett, both 11.3 x 10.8 feet”

    Independent curator and art historian John Arthur, contributed these comments on the mural cycle after it was unveiled.
    “For sheer bravura, sublime appropriateness, and true monumentality, Craig McPherson’s Harbors of the World must rank as one of the greatest contemporary achievements in public art.”

  8. Veronese’s brother worked on him with the immense project, which took them 15 months in total. Even more interesting is the identities of some of the people Veronese included in the painting. Among them: Emperor Charles V, Queen Eleanor of Austria, Francis I of France, Mary I of England and Suleiman the Magnificent. Veronese also included himself and other artists in the group of musicians playing in the foreground. The artist is in white playing the violoncello. Next to him is Titian, the next figure is either Bassani or Tintoretto and then (probably) the writer Pietro Aretino with a glass of wine.

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