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Churches >  Church of San Sebastiano
Chastising the Serpents

Author: Anonymous
Century: XVI°
DATE: XVI century     POSITION: walls of the sacristy            METHOD: oil painting

The friendship with abbot Bernardo Torlioni, Prior of the Gerolimini Convent in Verona, for who Paolo Veronese painted the Deposition currently at the Museum of Castelvecchio, motivated the artist to move to Venice.  

The ambitious project for the decoration in the church started in 1555 with the realisation of the paintings on the sacristy ceiling.

The iconography relating the percorso mariano with the ancient Saint Sebastian is taken from the antique double-name of the church, the Virgin and of the martyr. In the brief time of one year, Veronese consigned the first paintings, dated in MDLV. DIE XXII NOVEMBER, as shown on one of the corner rounds with cherubs.

A close dialogue between the two Testaments can be understood in the paintings on the walls done by Bonifacio de'Pitati's workshop (1487-1553):
The revived relations between Earth and Sky, announced in Jacob's Dream takes place in the Nativity of Jesus. The liberation from slavery and the path towards the Promised Land, celebrated in the Parting of the Red Sea, prefigured the work begun by Jesus, the new Moses, in the Baptism on the Jordanian shores. The evidence in the Sacrifice of Isaac is relived in the Oration of the Garden, the Crucifixion of Jesus corresponds the Chastising of the Serpents, flanked by the Resurrection. On the sides of the Crucifixion, the saints St Sebastian and St Paul the hermit are depicted.

This series of paintings, apparently entirely without documentation, is arranged in a completely absurd and complicated order and among them are various other paintings noticeably irrelevant to the rest. Critics have attributed, without much testing, these works to a group of painters, not exactly homogeneous if put among those of Bonifacio de' Pitati's workshop (all to be rebuilt), and to Antonio Palma which checks off noneother than the name of Marten de Vos.
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