Castelvecchio Museum Highlights

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Castelvecchio Museum Highlights: When I visited the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona some works of art have impressed me more than others. Of course this is just my opinion. I hope you can appreciate the works that I’m pointing out to you, but probably you will have your own favourites.

WARNING 

  • News of December, 2016: The stolen paintings are now back in Verona. They will be visible for a month and then restored and reframed. Finally again on display for good.
  • News of May, 2016: The stolen paintings have been found and will soon be returned to Italy. The works are damaged but not beyond repair..
  • News of November 20, 2015: Incredible theft at the Castelvecchio Museum last night. Three criminals immobilized security guard and cashier, and then forced a vigilante to accompany them in the rooms to stole the paintings. Among the stolen paintings there are masterpieces by Tintoretto, Pisanello, Rubens, Jacopo Bellini,  Caroto, Hans de Jode e Giovanni Benini.
  • Castelvecchio Museum highlights

    Sarcophagus of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (School of Master Nicolao, 1179). On the cover are two archers and the two saints on horseback. Along the sides of the sarcophagus there are carvings narrating their story, that ends with their death: Sergius is beheaded, Bacchus is beaten to death.

    Sarcophagus of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights
    Sarcophagus of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights

    Statue of Santa Cecilia (Master of St. Anastasia, first half of the XIV century). What strikes the eye is the placement of the statue with her back facing the visitor. This position was specially chosen to stimulate the curiosity of the viewers. Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians and in fact holds in his hand a small pipe organ.

    Statue of Santa Cecilia
    Statue of Santa Cecilia

    Quaint detail

    Battles of Knights Fresco (Veronese painter of the mid-fourteenth century). I wanted to call your attention to this one only because it made me laugh a lot. Note in fact the eyes of the horse, which I nicknamed Crazy Horse.

    Battles of knights
    Battles of knights

    My 2 favourite paintings

    Madonna and Quail (Pisanello, 1420). The painting was part of a small domestic altarpiece in late Gothic style. It’s a Virgin with Child and two Angels sitting in a magnificent rose garden. The quail which gives its name to the work is the biblical symbol of the salvation of the Jewish people. I particularly liked the face of the Virgin endowed with beautiful and sweet lineaments.

    Madonna and Quail, Pisanello, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights
    Madonna and Quail, Pisanello, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights

    Madonna of the Rose Garden (Michelino da Besozzo or Stefano da Zevio, 1420-1435). This was by far my favourite painting in the museum. Within a luxuriant garden sits the Madonna with Child. At the bottom, Saint Catherine braids wreaths of flowers. All around, the angels gather roses, read, fly, maybe even play. The two peacocks are the symbols of the immortality of Christ, because a long time ago it was believed that their meat was incorruptible. I loved it because it is a sweet and colourful painting and the rose garden is spectacular. Of all the Castelvecchio Museum highlights, this is surly my favourite.

    Madonna of the Rose Garden, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights
    Madonna of the Rose Garden, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights

    The chest

    Triumph of Love and Triumph of Chastity (Liberale from Verona, 1450). It is a part of wedding chest. In fact you can see above in the centre the lock for the key. The theme is taken from the writings of Petrarch. To the left is the chariot of Chastity pulled by docile unicorns with the insignia of the ermine. All around are virgins.
    To the right is the chariot of Love pulled by skittish horses, with the banner of the wild pig. At the bottom left you can see the philosopher Aristotle ridden and whipped by his mistress (according to a medieval legend), signifying that the slavery of the senses do not escape even the wise. I’m sorry for the window reflection on the painting but… actually I like it!

    Triumph of Love and Triumph of Chastity
    Triumph of Love and Triumph of Chastity

    Rubens

    The Lady of Licnidi (Peter Paul Rubens, 1602). The woman depicted is perhaps the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, daughter of Philip II the Great, patron of Rubens. The name of the painting comes from the flowers on the head of the woman, the licnidi. The red carnation symbolizes passion maybe because the picture was destined to the future husband of Isabella. Admire the beautiful lace collar. The Flemish were true masters in these magnificent and meticulous decorations!

    The Lady of Licnidi detail, Rubens
    The Lady of Licnidi detail, Rubens

    Crucifixion (School of Leiden, the first half of the XVI century). I was struck by this painting for the torsions of the bodies on the crosses. I found it very modern, almost cartoonish. There’s even a scene of a fight in the foreground.

    Crucifixion
    Crucifixion

    Cangrande

    Equestrian statue of Cangrande della Scala. A beautiful work, made even more beautiful thanks to the original location. Sorry…I’ve been waiting for ages but the two girls wouldn’t go away so they are in my photo (but I sort of deleted their faces… for privacy, not for vengeance).

    Cangrande statue, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights
    Cangrande statue, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights

    Portrait of a boy with a drawing (Gianfrancesco Caroto, 1523). The picture is particularly important because it is one of the first works in art history that shows a child acting like a child and nothing more. The British paediatrician Harry Angelman, visiting the Museum, recognized in this portrait the signs of a illness he had noticed in some boys. This illness is the Angelman syndrome.

    Portrait of a boy with a drawing, Caroto, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights
    Portrait of a boy with a drawing, Caroto, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights

    Girolamo dai Libri

    Nativity with Saints John the Baptist and Jerome, called Nativity of the rabbits and Madonna with the umbrella (Girolamo dai Libri). This paintings are full of interesting details that might escape a distracted look. Thanks to the explanations of the nice lady who was guarding the room, we could better appreciate them. The rabbits in the first painting represent the lords of Verona who had sold the city to the Venetians.

    Nativity of the rabbits
    Nativity of the rabbits

    The second painting tells a story. The child on the right had to reach the castle in the mountains (in the background on the left). He is then taken to the presence of the Virgin to receive protection. The lemon symbolizes the roughness of the way he has to walk. I’m sorry I know this is low quality, but it is the only photo I’ve got of this painting and… I really wanted to explain and show to you the lemon thing!

    Madonna with the umbrella detail
    Madonna with the umbrella detail

    Veronese

    Pala Bevilacqua-Lazise (Paolo Caliari, called Veronese, 1548). It is a Madonna with Child and Saints. Below you can see the two clients, members of the Bevilacqua family. Behind the Virgin, there are two angels. I found it a beautiful painting… and what a frame! 

    Pala Bevilacqua-Lazise, Veronese
    Pala Bevilacqua-Lazise, Veronese

    A final coffee

    The Coffee (Pietro Longhi, 1760). Pietro Longhi painted mainly small interior scenes of everyday life of the eighteenth century. I find his paintings so nice and funny. My husband, however, didn’t particularly appreciate it. But come on! It’s a bunch of people drinking coffee in 1700. How can this not be nice?

    Castelvecchio Museum, The Coffee, Pietro Longhi, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights
    The Coffee, Pietro Longhi, Castelvecchio Museum Highlights

    I hope you’ll enjoy these Castelvecchio Museum highlights and all the other artworks during your visit. Let me know what were your favourite!

    Castelvecchio Museum
    museodicastelvecchio.comune.verona.it
    Corso Castelvecchio 2 – Verona

    Museum Tickets
    Full Price 6 €, Reduced 4,5 €
    From October to May, the first Sunday of the month flat rate: € 1.00 (not in the case of exhibitions)

    Opening hours
    Monday 1.30 pm – 7.30 pm
    Tuesday to Sunday 8.30 am to 7.30 pm

    Closing days: Mondays morning, the morning of January 1st and December 25th

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