Paolo Veronese: The wedding at Cana (1562-1563)

(Louvre, Paris, France)

A painting made by the Italian artist Paolo Veronese (1528-1588). This massive painting (6.77 m × 9.94 m) was commissioned by the Benedictine monks for the dining room of the Benedictine Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The contract was signed on 6 June 1562 and stated that Veronese would receive 324 ducats, personal and domestic maintenance and a barrel of wine in payment for the painting. Veronese and his brother Benedetto Caliari worked in the painting for fifteen months and completed it in September 1563. The depicted Biblical scene comes from the Gospel of John 2:1-11 and is about a wedding in Cana (the location of this town is unknown). Jesus, his mother Mary and his disciples are also present at the feast when it is discovered that there is no more wine. Jesus gives a sign of his glory by turning water into wine:

7. "Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it.
9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom
10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him"

the transformation of water into wine is the first of the miracles of Jesus by which Jesus' divine status is attested. Veronese shows the feast with more than 100 people present, including queen Eleanor of Austria, king Francis I of France, queen Mary I of England, the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, marchioness Vittoria Colonna of Pescara, Holy Roman emperor Charles V, the Venetian diplomat Marcantonio Barbaro, cardinal Daniele Barbaro, countess and duchess Giulia Gonzaga of Fondi and Traetto and the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire Sokollu Mehmet Paşa. The group of musicians in the center are Paolo Veronese (on the viola da gamba), Jacopo Bassano (flute), Tintoretto (violin), and Titian (violoncello); sitting next to him is Benedetto Caliari, Veronese's brother. The miracle itself is shown in the lower right corner. Painting from 1562-1563.