- Scrovegni Chapel
The "Scrovegni Chapel", or "Cappella degli Scrovegni", also known as the "Arena Chapel" is a church in Padua,
Veneto, Italy. It contains a frescocycle by Giotto, completed about 1305, that is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. The church was dedicated to "Santa Maria della Carità" at the Feast of the Annunciation, 1303. Giotto's fresco cycle focuses on the life of the Virgin and celebrates her role in human salvation. The chapel is also known as the Arena Chapel because it was built on land purchased by Enrico Scrovegni that abutted the site of a Roman arena. This space is where an open-air procession and sacred representation of the Annunciation to the Virgin had been played out for a generation before the chapel was built. A motetby Marchetto da Padovaappears to have been composed for the dedication on March 25, 1305. [An acrostic in the motet's text suggests Marchetto was the composer.]
The wealthy banker Enrico Scrovegni had the private chapel built directly next to the family palazzo on his large estate. He commissioned its decoration by Giotto, Italy's preeminent painter of the time. It is often suggested that Enrico built the chapel in penitence for his father's sins. Enrico's father
Reginaldo degli Scrovegniis the usurerencountered by Dantein the Seventh Circle of Hell. Though Enrico devoted a paragraph in his will directing his heirs to make restitutions, [Anne Derbes and Mark Sandona, "'Ave charitate plena': Variations on the Theme of Charity in the Arena Chapel" "Speculum" 76.3 (July 2001, pp. 599-637) p 600 note.] his true motivation is unknown. Enrico's tomb is in the apse, and he is also portrayed in the Last Judgmentpresenting a model of the chapel to the Virgin. Some believe this suggests he was more concerned about his own spiritual well-being. Though the chapel was ostensibly a family oratory, it served some public functions related to the Feast of the Annunciation, [The connection of the "Annunciation" of the fresco cycles and the feast is explored by Laura Jacobus, "Giotto's Annunciation in the Arena Chapel, Padua" "The Art Bulletin" 81.1 (March 1999), pp. 93-107.]
Apart from Giotto's work, the chapel is unornamented and features a
barrel vaultroof. Giotto's Last Judgmentcovers the entire wall above the chapel's entrance and includes the aforementioned devotional portrait of Enrico. Each wall is arranged in three tiers of fresco groups, each with four two-meter-square scenes. Facing the altar the sequence begins at the top of the right hand wall with scenes from the life of the Virgin, including the annunciation of her mother and the presentation at the temple. The series continues through the Nativity, the Passion of Jesus, the Resurrection, and the Pentecost. The panels are noted for their emotional intensity, sculptural figures, and naturalistic space. Between the main scenes Giotto used a faux architectural scheme of painted marble decorations and small recesses.
The iconography of the fresco cycles are those of the "
Life of Christ" and the " Life of the Virgin". The "Annunciation" occupies a central position over the chancel arch.
Joachimis sent away from the temple
*Prelude to the stories of Mary
*Prelude to the stories of
*Joachim amongst the shepherds
angelcomes to Anna in prayer
*Joachim sacrifices a kid goat to the Lord
*Joachim meets Anna at the Golden Gate
Nativity of Maryand bathing the infant
Presentation of Maryat the Temple
*The bringing of the branches
*Prayer for the blossoming of the branches
marriage of the Virgin
*The nuptial cortege
*The mission of the
Annunciation to Mary
Nativity of Jesus
Adoration of the Magi
Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
Flight into Egypt
Massacre of the Innocents
Finding in the Temple(Jesus among the doctors)
Baptism of Jesus
Wedding at Cana
*The Resurrection of
*Christ enters Jerusalem
*The expulsion of the dealers from the Temple
The Last Supper
*The washing of the feet
*"The Kiss of Judas"
Flagellation of Christ
*The ascent to
Lamentation of Christ
Resurrection of Jesus— " Noli me tangere"
*Allegories of the
Vices and the Virtues
* [http://www.cappelladegliscrovegni.it/ Official website]
* [http://www.giottoagliscrovegni.it/eng/home.html Virtual Tour and Information]
* [http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/ahist/arthist111/biblical_narratives/ University of Auckland] most of the images, with explanations & highlighing named figures etc.
* [http://www.webvisionitaly.com/category.php?id=248&ref_genre=&ref_item=397 Video introduction to Giotto's masterpiece]
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