restauro24Seven centuries ago, during the first Jubilee Year (1300), the foundation stone was laid for the chapel that Enrico Scrovegni, a wealthy banker and merchant, wanted to build as the finishing touch to his new home in Padua.
To embellish the building, which was intended to hold his own tomb and those of his descendants, Enrico summoned two of the greatest artists of the period. Giovanni Pisano, who was commissioned to sculpt three marble altar statues of the Virgin and Child between two angels, and Giotto, who was asked to fresco the walls and ceiling.
Giotto was already an established artist - he had worked for the Pope on the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, and in Padua on the Basilica of St. Anthony and the Palazzo Comunale (town hall), also known as the Palazzo della Ragione.
For the Scrovegni Chapel, Giotto was asked to depict a series of stories from the Old and New Testaments, culminating in Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, and the Last Judgement.
The aim was to encourage visitors to the Chapel to meditate more deeply on Christ's sacrifice and the salvation of mankind.
Giotto planned an architectural structure in painted imitation marble supporting the vaulted roof, decorated as a star-spangled sky, with framed stories of episodes in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ on the walls.
The whole project was finished in a short space of time and, in 1305, after only two years' work, the Chapel was consecrated for the second time (the first time was on completion of the building).
Very little is known about the history of the Chapel from then until the 19th century, when it was almost destroyed as a result of lack of interest on the part of its new owners. The portico on the façade collapsed and the house built by Enrico was demolished.
These events had a disastrous effect on the Chapel, the left side and façade of which were left unsupported and exposed to the elements. In the meantime, the building had passed to the City Council (1881), which took steps to prevent further loss and damage. But the building and its frescoes had already undergone severe deterioration.
Major restoration work was undertaken in the late 19th century and again in the 1960s. More recently, a new problem has arisen – damage due to atmospheric pollution, which causes the painted surfaces to crumble away.
In order to decide what action to take, a series of scientific studies was carried out, lasting several years. Results showed what could be done to slow down deterioration and, just as importantly, how to prevent further dangers arising in the future.
Urgent restoration was carried out immediately and, on May 31 2000, a special technical installation was set up, a sort of "artificial lung". This special air-conditioned environment now both purifies the air inside the Chapel and monitors its atmosphere continuously, in order to protect these unique frescoes, some of the most important of all time.
Nearly a year was needed to check that the environmental control system was working properly, after which further restoration and conservation work could be planned.

RESTORATION WORK

restauro1The restoration project for the Scrovegni Chapel was presented at the City Museum (Eremitani) on June 12 2001. The following criteria were applied:

Urgent conservation work on high-risk areas
Smoothing of unevennesses in painted surfaces caused by previous attempts at restoration (Botti and Bertolli in the late 19th century; Tintori in the early 1960s)

Point 1: work has been carried out to consolidate plaster and painted surfaces, at the same time removing efflorescences of salt, which not only caused blistering on the surface of the frescoes but also led to further deterioration.
Point 2: the most important aspects concern the large areas in which the blue background is missing, as well as certain sections of the plaster that had been filled in during previous restoration work.
The areas of missing blue background have been "receded"- in other words, they have been made
to retreat optically so that they do not disturb the viewer's eye (no attempt has been made to replace the colour). As regards the plaster, here too, the aim was to make it as homogenous as possible by "receding" certain parts so that they do not interfere with the overall effect. In particularly significant areas (e.g., the imitation painted architecture which supports all the decoration and contains the frames) the missing areas were treated using water-colours (the established practice in such cases).
restauro3On-site work is directed by Giuseppe Basile, and the staff includes restorers and students from the ICR school of restoration (co-ordinated by F. Capanna and A. Guglielmi). This high-priority work involves the following companies specialising in artwork restoration: Conservazione e restauro
di Colalucci-Bartoletti , Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, Giantomassi-Zari, Conservazione Beni Culturali, and Tecnireco di Fusetti-Virilli.
Project work is being carried out by the following organisations: ICR scientific laboratories (co-ordinator M. Marabelli) and digital documentation laboratory (co-ordinator F. Sacco), an international committee of experts on wall painting restoration, an interdisciplinary commission for the restoration of the Scrovegni Chapel, composed of technical experts from the City Council and the Ministry for Cultural Heritage, as well as university experts (co-ordinator Annamaria Spiazzi).
Further details will be made available at the forthcoming presentation of progress and first results of the project.



 

internocapThe Scrovegni Chapel, dedicated to St. Mary of the Charity, frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by Giotto, upon the commission of Enrico degli Scrovegni, is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. The frescoes, which narrate events in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ, cover the entire walls. On the wall opposite the altar is the grandiose Universal Judgement, which concludes the story of human salvation.
The chapel was originally attached to the Scrovegni family palace, built after 1300, following the elliptical outline of the remains of the Roman arena.
The Chapel was acquired by the City of Padova in1880, and the vulnerable frescoes were subjected to several specialized restoration operations during the 19th and 20th centuries. From the 1970s until today, thanks to close collaboration between the city administration, cultural heritage authorities and the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro, the state of the building, the quality of the air in it, polluting factors, and the state of conservation of the frescoes themselves have all been subjected to careful study and monitoring. The addition of the new access building, with its special air-conditioned waiting-room, means that even great influxes of visitors can enter the Chapel and admire Giotto's masterpiece without further jeopardizing its fragile condition in any way.
The latest checks, which show that the condition of the frescoes is now stable, have allowed them to be restored further - delicate operations undertaken by the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro - thanks to an agreement between the City of Padova and the Italian Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali.

MULTIMEDIA ROOM

adoramagiSince 26 March 2003, a room in the Eremitani Museum has been equipped with 7 workstations, some of which are multimedia, in order to allow visitors to study the frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel and obtain information about the historical and artistic period in which Giotto lived and worked.
The use of various multimedia options (pictures, sound, commentaries, and real or multimedia reconstructions) will enable visitors to play an active role and virtually enter reconstructed areas. There are both "passive" and "active" study approaches, in which visitors can personally interact. They can thus become familiar with Giotto's art and its historical context, and concentrate on their favourite themes at the same time.

 

Visitors who have not booked should check entry availability at the Museum ticket office.

The ticket office is about 100 metres from the Scrovegni Chapel.

The ticket office is situated at the entrance of the Eremitani Museum, its address is 8, Eremitani Square.

Visitors, with their tickets, should reach the entrance of the air-conditioned waiting-room outside the Scrovegni Chapel 5 minutes before the visiting time printed on their tickets.

Late visitors will not be admitted into the Chapel, unless they book a new visit at another available time and pay again.

Only 25 people are admitted per visit.

Groups of maximum 25 people wait at the door to the air-conditioned waiting-room for 15 minutes, the time needed to stabilise the interior microclimate. They then enter the Chapel for another 15 minutes. Visits last a total of about 30 minutes.

Automatic access doors open only once on entrance and exit, to allow stabilisation of the interior microclimate.

Pets, bags, food and drinks are not allowed inside the Chapel.

Cell phones should be kept in silent mode during the visit.

Inside the Scrovegni Chapel and Eremitani Civic Museum visitors are allowed to take photographs for personal or private use but only from a distance to the object (not touching it) and without the use of flash, incandescent lamps, tripods or other support.

 

 

Reservation is compulsory.

Tickets are not refundable.

On-line reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. It is not possible to reserve for the same day.
It is possible to make reservation until the day before the visit if you pay by credit card. If you want to pay by bank transfer, the reservation should be made at least 3 days before the day of the visit calling the call-center. We count three days excluding the day of visit and the day of reservation. For example: if you want to visit the chapel on Friday, you should make reservation by the previous Monday.

How to pay:

1) reservations by phone through the Call Center

can be paid by bank transfer (bank details will be sent via e-mail) or credit card. We currently accept VISA, MASTERCARD and DINERS.

2) on-line bookings

Credit Card
payment may be made by credit card VISA, MASTERCARD, DINERS.

How to visit

Visitors who have not booked should check entry availability at the Museum ticket office.

The ticket office is about 100 metres from the Scrovegni Chapel.

The ticket office is situated at the entrance of the Eremitani Museum, its address is 8, Eremitani Square.

Visitors, with their tickets, should reach the entrance of the air-conditioned waiting-room outside the Scrovegni Chapel 5 minutes before the visiting time printed on their tickets.

Late visitors will not be admitted into the Chapel, unless they book a new visit at another available time and pay again.

Only 25 people are admitted per visit.

Groups of maximum 25 people wait at the door to the air-conditioned waiting-room for 15 minutes, the time needed to stabilise the interior microclimate. They then enter the Chapel for another 15 minutes. Visits last a total of about 30 minutes.

Automatic access doors open only once on entrance and exit, to allow stabilisation of the interior microclimate.

Pets, bags, food and drinks are not allowed inside the Chapel.

Cell phones should be kept in silent mode during the visit.

Inside the Scrovegni Chapel and Eremitani Civic Museum visitors are allowed to take photographs for personal or private use but only from a distance to the object (not touching it) and without the use of flash, incandescent lamps, tripods or other support.

We kindly remind our visitors that it is not possible to book for the same day. Tickets should be collected well in advance. Groups should show up 45 minutes prior to visit.

 

ON-LINE BOOKING

 

Special offer: guided tours and reduced ticket price FROM TUESDAY TO SATURDAY, every 15 minutes FROM 12.15 TILL 13.30 (last entrance to the Chapel at 13.00). In times of year when visits take 20 minutes, the guided tour schedule shifts to 12.00, 12.20, 12.40 and 13.00.

Visitors joining the guided tours should pay an admission ticket of 8€
Tickets can be reserved by phone or on the internet, directly selecting a 8,00€ ticket (unless you qualify for better reductions).

Guided visit fees are 2€ per person, and will be paid when collecting the tickets.

GUIDED VISITS ARE IN ITALIAN.

Suspended in July and August.

 

 

prenota

We kindly remind our visitors that it is not possible to book for the same day. Tickets should be collected 1 hour before the scheduled time of visit.

Compulsory bookings

Call centre: +39 049 2010020
The call centre is operative: Mondays to Fridays, 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. - Saturdays, 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

Reservation is compulsory.
On-line reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. It is not possible to reserve for the same day.
It is possible to make reservation until the day before the visit if you pay by credit card.
If you want to pay by bank transfer, the reservation should be made at least 3 days before the day of the visit calling the call-center.
We count three days excluding the day of visit and the day of reservation.
For example: if you want to visit the chapel on Friday, you should make reservation by the previous Monday.

Tickets should be collected well in advance; groups should show up at least 45 minutes prior to visit.

 

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