Prato della Valle
The Arena Chapel
This chapel is entirely frescoed by late medieval master Giotto. Some consider him the first renaissance painter because he brought painting forward with more modeling and three dimensionality than previously created in the medieval period. It was commissioned by the Scrovegni family of bankers. Because usury was a sin, a chapel was a good way to atone and hopefully get to heaven.
Love the ceiling with the stars and saints.
Here is a Rick Steves video about the Chapel
Just like going to the see the Last Supper, you need to reserve a ticket and entrance time prior to visiting. Similarly, because of the fragility of the work, you enter into a climate controlled anti-room for 15 minutes before you enter the chapel with your group. The directions are on the website link at the bottom of this post. Once you enter, you have 15 minutes inside the chapel to take in this magnificent work of art.
We studied this fresco, in the lower rectangle below, in art history. In fact, we had to write an essay about in on our midterm. This was a perfect example how Giotto changed art from the current standards of medieval painting. The overlapping of figures, angels who show their anguish in dramatic mourning, and setting the stage in a natural setting. This was all new to the period. (More on this in video 3 of the Smart History Videos below.)
I loved this next scene of the baptism of Christ and I wonder if it's the first underwater depiction of Jesus?
Next up are 4 short "Smart History" teaching videos with all sorts of interesting information about the chapel by art historians. It's great because there are a lot of close ups with information about the biblical stories behind the the frescoes as well as giving wonderful context within the scope of art history.
(focuses on the Lamentation)
The Picture Gallery
Ginevra Cantofoli (Bologna, 16181-1672)
Giovane Donna in Vesti Orientali
This is a detail of the painting above. There was something so captivating about her expression. I kept going back to it!
from the website:
The works in the Picture Gallery, from religious and municipal institutions and donations by private citizens, number about 3000, including canvases by Giorgione and Titian, and offer an ample perspective of Venetian painting from the 14th - 16th centuries. The paintings, which follow a chronological path, were executed by the most important artists in Italian art history.
Below is a detail of a Tintoretto. So much movement and drama! He seems to be getting a jump on the Baroque period!
Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto (Venezia, 1519-1594)
Giove e Semele
Oil on Wood
This painting wins for the "most over top" frame on a small portrait. It is the goddess Minerva after all, so why not?
Pietro Liberi (Padova 1614-Venezia 1687)
I love the way this next unfinished piece by Andrea Mantegna looks with it's contrast of a color and monochrome. I might need to use that idea in an intentional way on one of my pieces.
Andrea Mantegna (1430-1506)
Madonna della Tenerezza, 1491
This next portrait of a padre looked so much more contemporary than what the year would suggest! My mom and I loved it. When you go into some of these museums a lot of the art can sort of run together but then there are others that stop you in your tracks. This was one of them. In person he looked like he was going to start talking to us!
Francesco Apollodoro called Il Porcia (1532-1612)
Ritratto del compositore Costanzo Porta
I loved that the trams that take you around Padua are decorated with stars like the ceiling of the Scrovegni Chapel!
Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padova
The renaissance tomb of Saint Anthony is inside this church. Unfortunately, you can't take photos but the large and impressive basilica has many relics of St. Anthony as well as sculptures by Donatello. It was started just a year after the saint's death.
I mainly wanted to say a big old thank you to St. Anthony. I can't tell you how many times at work or at home that I've prayed "Saint Anthony please come round, something's lost and must be found." I tend to misplace things.
The church is filled with pilgrims and they line up to place a hand on the tomb. When I placed my hand on the cool surface I said thank you and I felt a burst of energy go up my arm into my chest. I smiled as I walked back to family sitting in the pews.
Just a side note, there is a big gift shop and when you walk through it, there is another small room filled with local teas and other artisanal products. I brought back a lovely floral tea!
Prato della Valle is a 90,000 square meter elliptical piazza and the largest in Italy. Scroll to the top for another beautiful view. I love how piazzas are such a part of the fabric of Italian life. People of all ages gather together in an outdoor space, large or small, to visit and spend time together out in their neighborhoods and communities. It's the best of Italy and says so much about the culture. I just love it!
Blessings and light!
Museo d'Arte Medioevale e Moderna
Basilica Sant'Antonio di Padova