Sunday, August 7, 2022

Arte eterna | Eternal art (may she be preserved)

 Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Pablo Picasso

Today I am in Padua, about an hour away from Verona by train in the direction of Venice. Pilgrims head to Padua to visit the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, a very popular saint who was a preacher for St. Francis of Assisi. Pilgrims come to touch the tomb of this miracle worker and view his relics: his lower jaw, tongue and vocal chords. I found the architecture really interesting because it looks Byzantine with the domes and minarets.

The main purpose of my visit to Padua was to see the world heritage site, the Scrovegni Chapel. It is a masterpiece that marks the dawn of the Renaissance. This Last Judgement predates Michelangelo by 250 years. 

Painted by Giotto between 1303 and 1305, the colours remain vivid and his figures are alive with expression. To preserve them, only 25 people are allowed in the chapel via a humidity controlled gate system and visits are limited to 15 minutes.

Next door is the Church of the Eremitani, built between 1276 and 1306. Allied bombs almost completely destroyed the church and with it the frescoes of the genius painter, Mantegna. The destruction of the church and his work is considered the greatest individual disaster to Italian art in WWII.

The conversation work to restore the structure and its paintings is jaw-dropping. Those 'splotches' of colour are bits of painted plaster that have found their way back to exactly where they should be. I am in awe of the work of these conservators.

This evening, after a quick apperitivo tasting a Buglioni Valpolicella ripasso, I took the funicular up the mountain for incredible evening views over the old pink city. Looking down I spotted cafe umbrellas in front of an old church. This being Sunday, I thought I should check it out for dinner.

My day ended with a lovely dinner at Redentore (Redeemer) restaurant. This adaptive reuse of an old religious building dates back to 1993. The salad was meal size so I made only a small dent in my fresh pasta with ragu. 

1 comment:

  1. I think Mantegna would also be in awe of the conservators. You've clearly developed a skill for identifying sources of good food at great distances... ;0)