Giotto, The Last Judgement c. 1305, Arena Chapel, Padua

Giotto, The Last Judgement c. 1305, Arena Chapel, Padua


Giotto Arena Chapel The Last Judgement detail 1305

(Detail) Below the cross, on the left, is the dedicatory scene, in which Enrico Scrovegni kneels before the Virgin and two saints, offering a model of the Arena Chapel upheld by an Augustinian friar. The portrait of Scrovegni, who is shown in sharp profile, is a faithful representation of the youthful features of the same man shown in old age on his marble tomb in the same chapel. His clothing and hairstyle reflect the fashions of the day, and provide valuable information on contemporary costume. The figure of Scrovegni is on the same scale as the sacred figures he is addressing – it was evidently enough to show him kneeling before these figures to indicate his “inferior” status. The model of the chapel presented by Scrovegni differs in a few details from the real chapel, a fact which suggests that the Last Judgement may have been painted before the exterior of the chapel was completed. This is a strong possibility since the most pictorially advanced parts of the cycle, i.e. those most similar to Giotto’s later works, appear on the wall opposite the Last Judgment, above and on each side of the chancel arch. The warm, rich colours of the angels surrounding God, and of the figures of Gabriel and Mary are related to the fresco decorations in the Magdalen Chapel in the Lower Church at Assisi, which are the closest to the Paduan frescoes of all of Giotto’s surviving cycles

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