Elegant Padova -- known in English as Padua -- is home to an ancient university, a Basilica that is an important centre for pilgrims and a chapel containing one of the world’s greatest art treasures. Use this website to help you plan a visit to this fascinating northern Italian city and find your way to the other beautiful towns and villages in the Veneto that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Scrovegni Chapel houses one of world’s greatest masterpieces

Stunning colours characterise
the chapel's frescoes
Padova’s reputation as a city of art is well and truly endorsed by Giotto’s amazing frescoes in la Cappella degli Scrovegni (the Scrovegni Chapel).
The frescoes are the only example of Giotto’s work in Padova, but are considered to be one of the greatest works of art in the world.
Dedicated to Santa Maria della Carita (Saint Mary of the Charity), the chapel was decorated with frescoes by Giotto between 1303 and 1305. He was commissioned to paint the frescoes by Enrico degli Scrovegni, who was hoping to atone for the sins of usury committed by himself and his dead father.
The frescoes narrate events in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ and the stunning scenes cover the side walls of the chapel. On the wall opposite the altar is Giotto’s magnificent Universal Judgment, which tells the story of human salvation and includes the figure of Enrico degli Scrovegni offering up a model of the chapel to the Virgin Mary in a desperate bid to save his father from hell.
Under a bright blue sky, the realistic figures with their powerful facial expressions and colourful clothes tell the compelling bible stories in a way that they had never been told before. The frescoes are universally acknowledged as a major artistic development, marking the beginning of modern art in Europe and the break with the Byzantine tradition.
Giotto was born in 1267 in Florence , where he learnt to paint with a sense of space, naturalism and drama. His revolutionary style was followed by many other painters in Padova later in the 14th century.
It is a miracle that these beautiful, colourful frescoes have survived as well as they have for the last 700 years.
The chapel was acquired by the city of Padova in 1880 and several specialised restoration operations have been carried out on them. Since the 1970s, the state of the building, the quality of air, polluting factors and the conservation of the frescoes themselves, have all been the subject of careful study.
The chapel can be accessed from Giardini dell’Arena off Piazza Eremitani, which is a short walk from the railway station along Corso del Popolo.
There is a special access building where visitors can wait and watch a video to prepare them for seeing the frescoes. The visits are carefully organised so that people can continue to enter the chapel and look at the frescoes without further jeopardising their condition.
Tickets for the Scrovegni Chapel should be booked in advance and collected one hour before the scheduled time for the visit.
For more information visit www.cappelladegliscrovegni.it


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