Giotto’s Frescoes enter World Heritage List

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Unesco considered that they marked “the beginning of a revolutionary evolution in the history of mural painting”

Italy – Padova (28/07/2021 8:21 PM, Gaudium Press) – Some works by pre-Renaissance Florentine master Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337) painted in Padua (Veneto, Italy) have been included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage List. According to UNESCO, the paintings mark “the beginning of a revolutionary evolution in the history of mural painting.”

Among the frescoes now belonging to the Unesco World Heritage List are those in the Gothic Scrovegni Chapel; those in Padua’s Palace of Reason (Palazzo della Ragione); those in St. Anthony’s Basilica; and five other buildings, religious and secular, housing series of frescoes painted between 1302 and 1397 by Giotto and other artists.

Scrovegni Chapel: 53 frescoes in 855 days

Considered Giotto’s masterpiece, the 53 frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel were commissioned by the Paduan banker Enrico Scrovegni. In total, it took the Florentine painter 855 days to cover the 1,000 square meters of space with his frescoes.

“Fresco” is a painting technique where fresh mortar is coloured before it dries. During the cycle of paintings, Giotto used shades of deep blue contrasting with gold. The effect s known as ‘Giotto blue.’

Although several paintings are inspired by episodes from the New and Old Testaments, the fresco that stands out most is the Last Judgment. It covers the entire facade of the chapel, depicting Christ as judge and king among the apostles.

UNESCO Recognition honours the city of Padova

The Bishop of Padua, Most Rev. Claudio Cipolla, expressed his joy concerning the entry of Giotto’s frescoes into the Unesco patrimony. “The fact that it is a heritage site indicates not only the preciousness of the property, but also its character as generator of other goods for today and for the future, something to be protected, safeguarded and transmitted. These are assets that give prestige to the city, but also give credit to its history and culture, so rich in testimonies of Faith,” he emphasized.

The prelate emphasizes that these frescoes “tell the story of fourteenth-century Padua, where life and Faith, concrete and spirituality, civil and religious contexts are strongly intertwined. If we think of the Baptistery, with its splendid cycle of frescoes by Giusto de Menabuoi, we are confronted with the entire history of Salvation, an artistic jewel that remains open to worship in order to live in particular the sacrament of Baptism,” he concluded. (EPC)

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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