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. This lecture is given by Dr Richard Stemp.
Richard graduated from Clare College, Cambridge with a degree in Natural Sciences and the History of Art, and returned to complete a PhD on Sculpture in Ferrara in the Fifteenth Century. After a year at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts he has shared his time between art and acting. He has lectured at the National Gallery for over 25 years, and has also worked on a regular basis at Tates Modern and Britain, the Wallace Collection, Buckingham Palace, and the V&A. As well as lecturing for numerous art societies around Britain, he also teaches on-site across Europe with Art History Abroad. His books include The Secret Language of the Renaissance and Churches and Cathedrals, and he has written and presented two series for Channel Four, Art in the National Gallery and Tate Modern, as well as making guest appearances on programmes as diverse as Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives and CBBC’s X-Change.