Paolo Farinati

Elijah and the Chariot of Fire (about 1565)

About this artwork

This drawing shows the Old Testament prophet Elijah being borne aloft to heaven on a miraculous chariot of fire. The Biblical account makes no mention of the charioteer that accompanies Elijah here. Farinati made this drawing in preparation for a large fresco that he had been commissioned to paint in the Marogna family chapel in the church of San Paolo in Campo Marzio, Verona. The dramatic swoop of the chariot and horses and the billowing clouds demonstrate Farinati at his theatrical best. Apart from a few minor alterations, this drawing is very close to the final fresco. He even indicated the real architecture of the chapel projecting into the picture field at either side. The handling of this drawing is unusually loose compared to other compositional designs by Farinati.

Paolo Farinati

Paolo Farinati

Farinati was born in Verona and became the city’s leading painter in the later part of the sixteenth century after his compatriot Paolo Veronese moved to Venice in the early 1550s. Farinati was not only a successful painter, but also a prolific and accomplished draughtsman. According to Vasari, Farinati was a pupil of Nicolò Giolfino, who encouraged him to concentrate on line as opposed to colour. He absorbed the influences of the fashionable Mannerist style of his youth, and the powerful figure style of Michelangelo. His work reflected this throughout his career. Farinati admired Veronese’s strong use of chiaroscuro and coarse brushwork, and incorporated these into his own paintings.