Castelvecchio Museum Highlights

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Last Updated on November 9, 2023 by Laura Teso

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.

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