Paolo Veronese belonged to a circle of influential and important painters in sixteenth-century Venice. Born Paolo Caliari, he became known as Veronese after his birthplace, Verona. At the age of fourteen, Veronese was apprenticed to an established Venetian painter, but he was more influenced by the monumental works of Raphael and Michelangelo. He arrived in Venice in at the age of twenty-five and spent the rest of his lifetime there, painting altarpieces and decorative cycles in chapels and palaces.
Twenty years later, Inquisitors challenged Veronese, asking him to account for the presence of "buffoons, drunkards, dwarfs, Germans, and similar vulgarities" in his painting of the Last Supper for a monastery in Venice. Veronese defended himself by invoking the artist's right to creative freedom. By the end of his life, Veronese's paintings were in such high demand that his brother, two sons, and a nephew had to carry out the remainder of his numerous commissions after his death.