Painted History in Padua

Picture of Jesus on Judgment Day
This week I'll continue a description of fantastic art in Italy. In the city of Padua, near Venice,  we toured a small chapel that was built in 1305 called the Chapel of Scrovegni. This chapel is famous because the entire interior walls were painted by Giotto di Bondone. The paintings tell the Biblical story from the Virgin Mary to Jesus' birth to His death and resurrection.

Since the art is more than 700 years old, the visits to the chapel are very limited. In order to see the chapel, our time slot had to be reserved online, weeks ahead of time. Then when it was our turn to visit the chapel we only had fifteen minutes inside the chapel. Before entering the space, we viewed a video about the chapel during which the temperature of the viewers was stabilized to equal the temperature inside.
Ceiling of the chapel

When we finally got our chance to view the chapel, we used the entire fifteen minutes taking in the beautiful scenes. At first, I was impressed with the blue painted ceiling overhead. I don't know how they were able to do that, but it sure was beautiful.

The slaughter of the Holy Innocents

Jesus' baptism on top

Then we started observing the pictures telling the story of the Annunciation of Mary through Jesus' resurrection. The story of Mary, starting with her parents, was on one side of the chapel. Jesus' life was on the opposite wall. The details of the pictures make them so precious in the art world today.
Visit of the shepherds in top picture

Chancel of the chapel

The altar area was also surrounded by Giotto paintings. It was almost too much to take in during those short fifteen minutes.

Seven levels of hell 

The back chapel wall was painted with the picture of Judgment Day. Jesus was sitting on His throne, judging the believers and unbelievers. The picture of the unbelievers being sent to hell was quite shocking. Giotto was inspired from the description of hell in Dante's "Inferno." It didn't leave too much for the mind to imagine after seeing Giotto's depiction of the suffering. See the picture on the right.
Saints being taken to heaven

Put this down in your book as a "must see" when you travel to Italy.


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