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Painting the Passion with Passion: Giotto and the Easter Story in Padua

Painting the Passion with Passion: Giotto and the Easter Story in Padua

Lecture by Richard Stemp

Given online by The Churches Conservation Trust on April 1, 2021

Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, painted between 1303 and 1305, constitute one of the most beautiful, most coherent and most complete decorative schemes to have survived the ravages of time, the changes of taste, and the vagaries of flood, fire and other ‘Acts of God’. Telling the stories of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and of Jesus himself, from his birth through to his death and resurrection, all is contained within a framework governed by the Last Judgement and Annunciation, when the Light of the World came into the world. As we reach Easter – and precisely on Maundy Thursday when Christians celebrate the Last Supper and Christ’s washing of the apostles’ feet – we will focus on the frescoes of the Passion, from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection, and go just a little bit beyond, to the Ascension and even Pentecost. Giotto’s storytelling is always compelling, and the paintings profoundly moving – a perfect prelude to the Easter weekend.

Dr Richard Stemp has worked with the National Gallery, Tates Modern and Britain, the Wallace Collection, Buckingham Palace, and the V&A. His books include The Secret Language of Churches and Cathedrals. Please visit his website to learn more about his work or follow Richard on Twitter @drrichardstemp

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Top Image: The scene of the Lamentation of Christ by Giotto

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