Monday, April 30, 2018

The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy


After spending a day in Verona--click here and here to read those posts--my husband and I traveled by train to our next stop, Padua, Italy, the next day. Padua is only an hour away from Venice, and for many centuries it was a rich commune that challenged both Verona and Venice as the seat of power in the Veneto region of Northern Italy before Venice permanently occupied Padua in 1405.  It became famous as containing Italy's second oldest university, founded in 1222, where Galileo Galilei was once a lecturer. I was nostalgic to return to Padua, as it was another of the cities I visited long ago as a high school student, although the only site we visited was the Basilica of Saint Anthony--more about that in my next post. This trip to Padua I was determined to visit the Scrovegni Chapel, which contains religious frescos painted by Giotto di Bondone in 1305, and are considered one of the most important masterpieces of Western Art! 


The Scrovegni Chapel is located in Piazza Eremitani, a short walk from the train station. The chapel was originally attached to the Scrovegni family palace, built after 1300, following the outline of the remains of a Roman arena that was located there. Advance reservation to visit the chapel is mandatory and can be made on the Scrovegni Chapel website, 24 hours in advance. Visits are timed, and only 25 people at a time are admitted.  It is required that you stand in an air-conditioned waiting room for 15 minutes so that the microclimate can be stabilized. Then the chapel inner doors are opened quickly to allow everyone inside and closed immediately.  Inside you are allowed 15 minutes to view the frescos. This is all done to preserve the integrity of the frescos from damage. I was not sure I could bring my camera into the chapel, so I left it at our Bed and Breakfast rental.  Happily, we were allowed to use our cell phones to take photos and videos as long as the flash was off. 




Mindful of our time limit, I took the video above quickly when I entered--click here to watch it on my facebook page if you can't see it above. It took Giotto two years to paint the 38 fresco paintings within the chapel.


The beauty and colors of the fresco paintings on the chapel walls were exquisite! 


Commissioned to the Tuscan artist by the affluent Paduan banker Enrico Scrovegni in the early 1300s, the frescoes depict the narrative lives of the Virgin Mary and of Jesus Christ. Enrico Scrovegni's tomb, seen above, is also located inside the chapel.


The ceiling of the chapel.


Close-ups of Mary and Jesus that are located on the ceiling.


The fresco paintings are considered so significant as the figures they depict are no longer elongated or stylized as in the Byzantine style, they wear clothes that hang naturally, and are three-dimensional in shape. They come alive and tell a story. Giotto also made use of perspective, which was not common at the time. They are considered the precursor to the Renaissance style of art.



Around one hundred years after Giotto di Bondone's death, artists of the emerging Renaissance began to seriously study and imitate his work at Scrovegni. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Masaccio and Raphael all visited and studied the chapel at one time or another to learn the techniques of their predecessor.


Paintings of Jesus' life were on one side of the chapel.



Paintings of Mary's life were depicted on the opposite side.


The Last Judgement is depicted above the entrance portal and symbolic representations of virtues and vices adorn the side walls. On the triumphal arch over the altar, you can see God, who instructed the archangel Gabriel to announce the birth of Jesus.


Please click on to enlarge

Some close-ups of segments of the paintings


The bottom tiers of the longer walls of the chapel feature 14 allegories, in monochrome, symbolizing Vices on the north wall and Virtues on the south wall, along with faux marbling and small altars on either side.
The Scrovegni Chapel has remained a symbol of artistic genius and innovation throughout the centuries and I was thrilled to visit it. There is much more to see in Padua and in my next post I'll show you more sights from this historic and magnificent city.

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36 comments:

Maggie said...

The reason I like to travel with you Pat is that you take me to some amazing places that I'll never see in real life and as is the case with the Scrovegni Chapel somewhere that I didn't even know existed and all whilst I sit comfortably on my sofa. What a wonderful place to visit, so much to wonder at and stand staring in amazement. Thank you for such a rare treat, you've quite made my day!
Happy MM to you!

Snap said...

I try to visit churches where ever I travel. I agree with Maggie, you are the perfect tour guide for this armchair traveler! Thank you!

ellen b. said...

Wow! Amazing art work on the walls of this beautiful chapel!

Pondside said...

How lovely, Pat. I must go back and look at your other posts about the trip. I am planning a walking holiday in Italy in May 2019 and am gathering points of interest. I haven't been to Italy since 1983! I don't know where the time goes, but I DO know that things have changed there, and sites that we were able to wander around in are now more restricted. I will definitely save the name of this chapel.

Lydia C. Lee said...

Just beautiful - that blue! Amazing

Anonymous said...

Am always happy to see frescoes - these are beautiful, and cannot thank you enough for sharing them with All Seasons!
That is what (I think) the present church misses nowadays. A sad decline of visual reminders of our faith (for) during the week! Some say that films have taken it's place, but films do not always inspire to contemplation, and even less to prayer. Not all that is new, is better:)
Have a blessed week:)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Stunning works of art! I'm so glad you were able to visit and amazed and happy you were able to take pictures. In awe of the beauty and history.

Lorrie said...

What a magnificent chapel, Pat. The blue paint is so intense and beautiful after all the years. I'm glad the caretakers are so rigorous in preserving the paintings. You always take us to such interesting places.

photodoug said...

Pat, enjoyed the scenic photo tour of The Scrovegni Chapel. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth Hiebert said...

There is some amazing architecture and beauty in these buildings.

Michelle said...

Beautiful religious artwork and so incredibly detailed.

Tom said...

...gorgeous, it's like an art gallery! Thanks for sharing.

Shantana said...

What a lovely post and interesting images.Have a lovely day.

Sarah said...

Thanks for taking us along, Pat. You take amazing photos and share the mos interesting things. Wonderful being your travel buddy!

Lady Fi said...

Wow - that chapel is stunning!

Klara said...

amazig art and very nice post.

Gillena Cox said...

Thank you for the Chapel visit. Have a good week

much love...

NC Sue said...

Lovely!
Thanks for joining us at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/04/saints-among-us-then-and-now.html

Nora said...

Thanks so much for your kind comments on my blog. I really enjoy to come here and relax and see your photos and your area and travels. I really love the chapel! Such wonderful art.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

So much blue in the chapel...just lovely!

Fun60 said...

Brilliant post. I enjoyed it very much. I was not aware of this chapel and now I have seen it through your eyes I would love to visit and see it for myself. It is so good to hear that precautions are in place to preserve these precious frescos.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Wow - words can't express how touchingly beautiful the frescos are. You are correct - it is exquisite.

Susan Anderson said...

These are simply incredible! How I would love to see the in person. I have missed your blog and the beauty you bring to us so well.
=)

Pieni Lintu said...

Great shots!

carol l mckenna said...

Beautiful and sacred photos!

Happy Week to you ~
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

The blues and the golds just speak to my heart and make it want to sing.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

What a beautiful place! It make me feel a bit more peaceful looking at the pictures.

Cathy Keller said...

Oh my, your photos take my breath away! They are beautiful! Thank you!

Christie Hawkes said...

Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing on #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

Lowcarb team member said...

It just takes your breath away doesn't it.
Truly magnificent.
A lovely post Pat, thank you.

All the best Jan

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Lucky you to have gotten to see this stunning chapel. When I was there, about ten years ago, you weren’t allowed to take any photos, although I managed to “sneak” a few. Good to know their policy has changed.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Two years only, amazing! Your story about the artist is as impressive as his paintings. Thanks for sharing both. I doubt I would've learned about this chapel, the artist, and his frescoes, otherwise.
The View from the Top of the Ladder

handmade by amalia said...

You are taking us to the loveliest places.
Amalia
xo

betty-NZ said...

Europe has so much more history than the US and this is a fantastic sample of it. Thanks for sharing all the photos and the history of the place with us.

Lynda H said...

So beautiful! Thanks for sharing with Party in Your PJs!

Jeanie said...

When I was studying art history, I was so impressed by Giotto and how he really ramped up art with more perspective and dimension. These frescoes are simply breathtaking. I can only imagine how it must have felt to stand here and be surrounded by such beauty and talent.