Padua 2002

Padua Travel Blog

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Giotto's fresco's in Scrovegni Chapel

The main purpose of my sojourn from Verona to Padua (1 hour by train) was to see the Cappela degli Scrovegni (the Arena Chapel). I was told the Scrovegni was a must see for Giotto's floor-to-ceiling fresco's and I was not dissapointed by the advice. Done over the course of three years between 1303 and 1306, the 36 vividly colored panels illustrate the life of Jesus and Mary. The top and middle tiers depict the life of Mary, while the bottom tiers tell the life of Jesus. The far wall opposite the entrance depicts the Last Judgement (Heaven or Hell). The bottom right of the fresco depicts Hell and it is quite the scary imagery of a creature eating the freshly damned and then defecating them out to spend the rest of eternity having other sadistic things done to them.

Giotto's Last Judgement
It's the stuff of nightmares! Michelangelo's version on the altar wall in the Sistine chapel is tame compared to this one. There is a nice set of videos describing the art in the Chapel that you can find here: Giotto's Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel. Anyway, it was a Sunday in Padua when I went there so there wasn't much else there that seemed open. I roamed around and had a peaceful walk as the streets were quite empty of people. It was probebly the most strangely quite city in Italy I've ever visited, but as I said it was a Sunday too and maybe June 14 had some significance there for it being so quiet. At any rate, the journey to Padua was well worth the pilgramige from Verona and I saw what I had come to see and headed back to Verona quite satisfied. I suppose after seeing Giotto's vision of Hell, what could be worse than that? I guess the bad neighborhood I was staying in back in Verona didn't look so bad now. I felt a bit comforted in this reflection - It's all in your point of view, and perspective, yes? One must find comfort in the big picture and not sweat the small stuff.

rickiedsouza says:
I have been to Padua and its a beautiful place.. I made use of a travel guide “Padua Top 95 Spots”..Here’s the link to it:
I must say it’s a great travel guide to have with lots of tips, suggestions and points of interest with beautiful pictures.
Posted on: May 21, 2015
spocklogic says:
Thanks, everyone, for the comments here. While quite a small place, it really packs a lot inside, which is part of what made it a rather powerful visual experience close up. I would guess this had to be one of the more influential works of its time. Once you see Giotto's Hell too, most things that seem bad in life couldn't possibly be worse than what is depicted there, so it gives one a perspective on things for sure!
Posted on: Aug 15, 2013
cimtech says:
Thank you for sharing!
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013
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Giottos frescos in Scrovegni Cha…
Giotto's fresco's in Scrovegni Ch…
Giottos Last Judgement
Giotto's Last Judgement
Giottos Hell
Giotto's Hell
Panels on the north wall (upper & …
Panels on the north wall (upper &…
Panels on the south wall (upper & …
Panels on the south wall (upper &…
Scrovegni Chapel I
Scrovegni Chapel I
Scrovegni Chapel II
Scrovegni Chapel II
photo by: spocklogic