Benedetto Caliari is recorded already working in the studio of his elder brother, Veronese, at the age of eighteen in 1556 and appears to have remained there for the majority of his career. He continued the running of the workshop after the elder master’s death in 1588 in conjunction with his nephews Carletto and Gabriele, often signing works collaboratively as the ‘heirs of Paolo’ (‘Haeredes Pauli’). Caliari is cited as collaborating with his brother in several instances, often contributing to the architectural elements in his compositions. He also, however, established a successful independent career alongside his work in Paolo’s workshop. As such, he produced several cycles of frescoes, unfortunately now lost, the most famous of which adorned the courtyards of the Moncenigo Palace at San Samuele and the Morosini palace of Santo Stefano (X. Salomon, Veronese, exhibition catalogue, London, National Gallery, 2014, p. 35). The painter produced a number of easel paintings, the best documented of which is his The Birth of the Virgin painted in 1577 for the Scuola dei Mercanti (Venice, Gallerie dell’Accademia).
Veronese and his workshop produced a number of paintings of the finding of Moses. The majority of these share a number of common elements, with the princess of Egypt shown standing, surrounded by her women and attendants, before a kneeling servant who holds the infant Moses in her arms, having pulled him from the Nile. The compositions vary between vertical scenes, like the picture in the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (inv. no. P00502), and horizontal versions, like Veronese’s autograph picture in the Gemälde Galerie, Dresden (inv. no. 229), but a number of versions were produced in the artist’s studio. Benedetto’s treatment of the subject relates most directly to the picture in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, though the physicality of his figures, treatment of light and construction of the composition are entirely indicative of an independent work by Benedetto himself.
We are grateful to Dr. Xavier Bray for proposing the attribution after inspection of the original.