Dose of Art #143: Paolo Veronese – Allegory of Wisdom and Strength (c. 1565)

The description of this painting at a 2006 Frick exhibition read:
“A richly dressed female figure — Wisdom — looks upward to heaven while divine light shines on her face. She stands over a globe symbolizing the world. Below her are crowns, scepters, jewels, coins, and military banners. Cupid sits on the right, while Hercules with his lion’s skin and resting on his club, stands as a symbol of power, force, brute strength, and even violence. The inscription on the pedestal of the column to the left is a quotation from the Book of Ecclesiastes: ALL IS VANITY. All earthly things (power, kingship, nations, wars, love, and strength) are therefore meaningless compared to celestial ones, as embodied by Divine.”
But as usual with paintings this old (almost 500 hundred years), the interpretation has changed over the centuries, and there is still much discussion about the exact meaning.
The painting itself has some lovely details; the azure blue sky (typical for Italian painting at the time), the beautifully detailed dress, the heavenly light shining upon Wisdom and of course Wisdom’s delicate shoes which look like they can still be bought from a modern designer shoe boutique.