Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel

Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel

Artist Giotto

Date 1305-06

Movement Proto-Renaissance

Located at Padua, Italy


Commissioned by Enrico Scrovegni to serve as his burial chapel and was built upon an old Roman arena. Upon the barrel vault: gold stars upon a field of deep blue to insinuate heaven; below, rectangular registers depict scenes from the lives of Mary and Christ, including the Annunciation (at the altar end) and the Last Judgment (at the opposing end). Lower registers mimic marble surfaces in the fresco style, as at the homes of Pompeii.


Christ Entering Jerusalem

Again, Giotto exquisitely adds highlights and shadows to his subjects, giving them immense three-dimensionality. Though the city gates of Jerusalem and the children upon trees help define the background, Giotto has bunched the main figures tightly in the foreground, enhancing the viewer’s perspective.


The Lamentation

This particular register meets the viewer at eye- level and it is composed accordingly, with Christ as the focal point at the very lowest point of the painting; the apostles and Mary haunch stiffly to emphasize this focal point, and counterbalance the angels above, mourning in somersaults. Cool colors emphasize the forlornness of the scene; the tree, in its bareness, seems to mourn the event as well, but it also serves to symbolize the rebirth of the Tree of Knowledge from the story of Adam and Eve.