The Last Judgment  c1130CE
sculptor: Giselbertus 
from St. Lazare, Autun Cathedral the West Portal 

detail tympanum

French Romanesque

 
Giotto and the Arena Chapel 1305-1306 
Enrico Scrovegni: Patron
A Proto Renaissance Fresco
 

Romanesque c.800-1150 CE
Gothic 1150-1350 C.E.
Proto Renaissance 1280-1350
Renaissance 1300-1600
Renaissance Mannerism 1535-1600
Baroque 1600-1750

Reginaldo degli Scrovegni was a Paduan nobleman who lived in the early
1300s around the time of Giotto and Dante. He is best known for being a
wicked usurer, and by association with his son, Enrico degli Scrovegni, who
commissioned the famous Arena Chapel by Giotto.




Engraving after the fresco in Bargello Chapel, painted by Giotto di Bondone in the 14th century. Detail on Dante's eye was originally never filled in, but in 1840 a painter named Marini did a touch-up job on Giotto's painting of Dante, filling in the eyeball. Refer to page 59 of Michael Caesar's Dante, the Critical Heritage, 1314(?)-1870.

Source: http://www.museumsinflorence.com/musei/Dante_house.html


Though when and how Giotto and Dante met is unknown, it is certain that they did, and became close friends. Considering the renown of Cimabue, Giotto's mentor, it is likely that Dante encountered the latter at the former's workshop. The two enjoyed each other's company regularly until Dante's exile, and it is suggested that they still met at intervals afterward. The closeness of their friendship is evidenced by Giotto's portrait of Dante, found on the wall of the Bargello chapel in Florence. Though the authorship of this portrait cannot be linked absolutely with Giotto, the possibility has not been ruled out.

The Influence of Visual Art on Dante

Dante and Giotto's Dual Legacy

Matt Dubois



Dante Alighieri 1265-132 (Author of the Divine Comedy)
Domenico Di Michelino
Dante and the Three Kingdoms 1465

The painting was made in 1465 to commemorate
Dante's 200th birthday 

Though Dante makes no mention of either of these contemporaries, he does allude to the influence of visual art on his work in the form of a direct reference to painter and lifelong friend, Giotto di Bondone. In Canto XI of the Purgatorio, Dante drops Giotto's name in suggesting the ethereality of worldly fame:

"Once Cimabue thought to hold the field
as painter; Giotto now is all the rage,
Dimming the luster of the other's fame."

Though Dante does not explicitly mention his personal relationship with Giotto, it is more important than one might think, and accounts for not only Giotto's favorable mention in Purgatorio, but also much of Dante's own artistic vision.

 

As has been suggested, Giotto, too, benefited from his association with Dante. Tradition holds that, after his exile, Dante visited his friend in Padua in 1306. The painter was engaged with a commission in the Capella degli Scrovegni, the chapel constructed by Enrico da Scrovegni in expatiation of the sins of his father, the selfsame usurer who bore his family's crest, a "blue sow, pregnant looking," on a moneybag around his neck in Inferno XVII.

Dante is said to have influenced Giotto in his decision of what scenes with which to adorn the chapel, which express an overall theme of Salvation. This tradition is borne out by the correspondence of the chapel scenes (including Jesus' expulsion of the money-changers, Judas' betrayal of Jesus, and the figure of Charity trampling moneybags) with the poet's own complex yet clear conception of Divine Justice and Salvation.

The Influence of Visual Art on Dante

Dante and Giotto's Dual Legacy

Matt Dubois
 

In Dante’s Comedy, Dante says that he saw Reginaldo degli Scrovegni in the inner ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell, where the violent are eternally punished. The inner ring of the Seventh Circle is a burning hot desert with a continual rain of fire. The usurers are to be found sitting on the sand, swatting away fire like animals swat bugs, and crying. Around their necks are found purses emblazoned with their coats of arms. This, and a bit of research into Dante's time-period, make it possible to identify who the suffering sinners are meant to be.

Usurers are considered violent because, as Dante's Virgil explains in Canto XI, usurers sin against Art, and Art is the Grandchild of God.

So I went on alone and even farther (43)
Along the seventh circle’s outer margin,
To where the melancholy people sat.

Despondency was bursting from their eyes; (46)
This side, then that, their hands kept fending off,
At times the flames, at times the burning soil:

Not otherwise do dogs in summer-now (49)
With muzzle, now with paw-when they are bitten
By fleas or gnats or by the sharp gadfly.

When I had set my eyes upon the faces (52)
Of some on who the painful fire falls,
I recognized no one; but I did notice

That from the neck of each a purse was hung (55)
That had a special color or an emblem,
And their eyes seemed to feast upon these pouches.

And one who had an blue pregnant sow 

(This person is Reginaldo, because a sow azure on 
a silver background is the coat of arms of the Scrovegni family.)

Inscribed as emblem on his white pouch, said
To me: “What are you doing in this pit?

Now be off; and since you’re still alive, (67)
Remember that my neighbor Vitaliano
Shall yet sit here, upon my left hand side.

Among these Florentines, I’m Paduan; (70)
I often hear them thunder in my ears,
Shouting, ‘Now let the sovereign cavalier,

The one who’ll bring the purse with three goats, come!’” (73)
At this he slewed his mouth, and then he stuck
His tongue out, like an ox that licks his nose.




The Last Judgment  c1130CE
sculptor: Giselbertus 
from St. Lazare, Autun Cathedral the West Portal 

detail tympanum

French Romanesque



  Quick Video Overview of the Cycle of Stories in the Chapel

 
 

narrative cycle
semiotic narratology
semiotic or structuralist analysis

Scenes from the Life of Joachim
1. Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple
2. Joachim among the Shepherds
3. Annunciation to St Anne
4. Joachim's Sacrificial Offering
5. Joachim's Dream
6. Meeting at the Golden Gate

Scenes from the Life of the Virgin
7. The Birth of the Virgin
8. Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple
9. The Rods Brought to the Temple
10. Prayer of the Suitors
11. Marriage of the Virgin
12. The Wedding Procession
13. God Sends Gabriel to the Virgin
14. Annunciation: The Angel Gabriel Sent by God
15. Annunciation: The Virgin Receiving the Message
16. Visitation

Scenes From the Life of Christ
17. Nativity: Birth of Jesus
18. Adoration of the Magi
19. Presentation at the Temple
20. Flight into Egypt
21. Massacre of the Innocents
22. Christ among the Doctors
23. Baptism of Christ
24. Marriage at Cana
25. Raising of Lazarus
26. Entry into Jerusalem
27. Expulsion of the Money-changers from the Temple
28. Judas Receiving Payment for his Betrayal
29. Last Supper
30. Washing of Feet
31. Kiss of Judas
32. Christ before Caiaphas
33. Flagellation
34. Road to Calvary
35. Crucifixion
36. Lamentation (The Mourning of Christ)
37. Resurrection (Noli me tangere)
38. Ascension
39. Pentecost

 
 
 
trompe l'eoil
grisailles
And one who had an azure, pregnant sow 
Inscribed as emblem on his white pouch, said
To me: “What are you doing in this pit?

Now be off; and since you’re still alive, (67)
Remember that my neighbor Vitaliano
Shall yet sit here, upon my left hand side.

Among these Florentines, I’m Paduan; (70)
I often hear them thunder in my ears,
Shouting, ‘Now let the sovereign cavalier,

The one who’ll bring the purse with three goats, come!’” (73)
At this he slewed his mouth, and then he stuck
His tongue out, like an ox that licks his nose.

Scenes from the Life of Joachim
1. Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple
2. Joachim among the Shepherds
3. Annunciation to St Anne
4. Joachim's Sacrificial Offering
5. Joachim's Dream
6. Meeting at the Golden Gate

Scenes from the Life of the Virgin
7. The Birth of the Virgin
8. Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple
9. The Rods Brought to the Temple
10. Prayer of the Suitors
11. Marriage of the Virgin
12. The Wedding Procession
13. God Sends Gabriel to the Virgin
14. Annunciation: The Angel Gabriel Sent by God
15. Annunciation: The Virgin Receiving the Message
16. Visitation

Scenes From the Life of Christ
17. Nativity: Birth of Jesus
18. Adoration of the Magi
19. Presentation at the Temple
20. Flight into Egypt
21. Massacre of the Innocents
22. Christ among the Doctors
23. Baptism of Christ
24. Marriage at Cana
25. Raising of Lazarus
26. Entry into Jerusalem
27. Expulsion of the Money-changers from the Temple
28. Judas Receiving Payment for his Betrayal
29. Last Supper
30. Washing of Feet
31. Kiss of Judas
32. Christ before Caiaphas
33. Flagellation
34. Road to Calvary
35. Crucifixion
36. Lamentation (The Mourning of Christ)
37. Resurrection (Noli me tangere)
38. Ascension
39. Pentecost

 


Matthew
Chapter 21

When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,
saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me.

And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, 'The master has need of them.' Then he will send them at once."

This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
"Say to daughter Zion, 'Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"

The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.

The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest."

And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, "Who is this?"
And the crowds replied, "This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee."


Life of Christ Window (c.1150): Triumphal Entry
Life of Christ Window (c.1150): Triumphal Entry

 
 
 

 


Giotto, The Lamentation, c1305 Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy
typological exegesis