“A wonder of the world,” wrote the artist Giacomo Barri in 1671 of Paolo Veronese’s The Wedding Feast at Cana, “and whosoever comes to Venice and departs without a sight of the Picture may be said to have seen nothing.” The enormous wall painting (approximately 22 feet by 32 feet) is set not, as the Bible would have it, in Galilee, but boldly in a late-Renaissance Venice, portraying 130 life-size figures—courtiers, musicians, soldiers, and a variety of animals—milling about an ornate marble terrace in lavish costumes. The entire scene of Venetian society’s bacchanalian decadence is drenched in vivid colors beneath a lapis lazuli sky, a stunning testament to the artist’s mastery of oil paint.
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On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death, it’s high time we hold this great despot and icon of white supremacy more accountable for the horror he wrought. Saltzman’s book does an excellent job of showing just how cruel and crazy this little man was, and I particularly appreciated this opinion piece by Marlene L. Daut in The New York Times.