Italy
Capella degli Scrovegni

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  • Day17

    The Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padua

    September 15, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    In my research of things to experience and see in Italy I came across the Scrovegni Chapel in Padova, Padua. It looked amazing and so close to Venice that it was worth a trip to see it.

    The Cappella degli Scrovegni, the Scrovegni Chapel (also known as the Arena Chapel), is a small church, adjacent to the Augustinian monastery, the Monastero degli Eremitani in Padua. The chapel and monastery are now part of the complex of the Museo Civico of Padua. The chapel contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, completed about 1305 and considered to be an important masterpiece of Western art.

    The chapel was built in 1305 by wealthy Italian banker Enrico Scrovegni. The young Scrovegni’s father had been a notorious userer, or purveyor of bad loans, charging so much interest as to crush those that owed him money. At the time this practice was considered so vile as to end someone’s soul in hell. Scrovegni’s father was so well-known for his illegal interest that he is even name-checked in Dante’s Divine Comedy as one of the souls in the Seventh Circle of Hell.

    The Scrovegni Chapel was built as a measure to atone for his father’s sins, and while the building itself is architecturally unremarkable, Scrovegni was able to retain the services of one of the most renowned artists of the time to decorate the interior. And the result is truly breathtaking. The largest element is extensive cycles showing the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin. The wall at the rear of the church, through which the chapel is entered, has a large Last Judgement. There are also panels in grisaille (monochrome) showing the Vices and Virtues.

    Like the Last Supper in Milan, the Scrovegni Chapel can only be visited under strict guidelines in order to protect this amazing work of art. We were unaware that we needed to prebook and were lucky enough to show up when there was a place available.

    The vivid colours, the stories told in the frescos, the beauty and depth of the “heavenly” combined with the “hellish” pieces, the contrasts, even the feeling whilst standing in the Chapel, all of it really made an impact on me. It was definitely worth the trip and is a place I will always remember.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Capella degli Scrovegni, Cappella degli Scrovegni

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