Olga's Gallery

Capella degli Scrovegni, also called The Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy.

        The rich Paduan merchant Enrico Scrovegni built the chapel in expiation for his father's sins of usury in 1302-1305, next to his town palace, now destroyed, and not far from the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater, called Arena, which gave the second name to the chapel. The great Giotto worked on its decorarion in 1306-1307. The chapel is quite small and very simple in structure, perhaps at Giotto's own suggestion.

View of the interior towards the apse.

        The frescoes are positioned in the following way: at the bottom, false marble skirting has grisailles (painted in greyish tones) allegories of Vices and Virtues. Along the walls and around the chancel arch three successive tiers show Scenes from the Lives of Joachim and Anne, the Virgin, and Christ. There are also roundels showing the Evangelists and the Doctors of the Church. The work is completed by a scene showing The Last Judgement. The fine state of preservation of these frescoes enables us to appreciate Giotto's innovations in regard to his depth of vision and his portrayal of real human emotions.

Position of frescoes, view from the interior towards the apse.

    History of Joahim

1. Rejection of Joachim's Sacrifice.
2. Joachim Taking Refuge among the Shepherds.
3. The Angel Appearing to St. Anne.
4. The Sacrifice of Joachim.
5. Joachim's Dream.
6. Meeting at the Golden Gate.

    History of the Virgin

7. The Birth of Mary.
8. Presentation at the Temple.
9. The Bringing of the Rods.
10. The Wooers Praying.
11. The Marriage of the Virgin.
12. The Marriage Procession of the Virgin.
13A. The Mission of the Angel Gabriel. A circle of angels surrounds the throne of God the Father. The depiction of God himself is painted on a wooden panel. This was presumably used as a door and opened on the occasion of the mystery plays, which marked the Feast of the Annunciation, to let out the dove of the Holy spirit.
13B. The Angel of Annunciation.
13C. The Virgin of Annunciation.

    History of Christ.

14. Visitation.
15. The Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds.
16. The Adoration of the Magi.
17. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
18. Flight into Egypt.
19. The Massacre of Innocents.
20. Jesus Among the Doctors.
21. The Baptism of Christ.
22. The Wedding Feast at Cana.
23. Raising of Lasarus.
24. Christ Entering Jerusalem.
25. Christ Purging the Temple.
26. The Betrayal of Judas.
27. The Last Supper.
28. Washing of the Feet.
29. The Kiss of Judas.
30. Christ Before Caiphus.
31. The Mocking of Christ and Flagellation.
32. The Carrying of the Cross.
33. The Crucifixion.
34. Lamentation.
35. Resurrection (Noli me tangere).
36. Ascension.
37. The Pentecost.

38. The "coretti" (the "Secret Chapels")

    Allegorical Figures of Virtues and Vices

39. Prudence
40. Fortitude
41. Temperance
42. Justice
43. Faith
44. Charity
45. Hope
46. Despair
47. Envy
48. Idoltary
49. Injustice
50. Anger
51. Inconstancy
52. Foolishness

View of the interior towards the entrance with the fresco of The Last Judgment on it.

    Not on the scheme:

The Last Judgement

Back to Giotto's Page

Home      Artist Index     Country Index