Giotto’s “The Kiss of Judas”:
Giotto, who was born around 1267, was 36–38 years old when he worked at Enrico Scrovegni’s chapel. He had a team of about 40 collaborators, and they calculated that 625 work days were necessary to paint the chapel. A “work day” meant that portion of each fresco that could be painted before the plaster dried and was no longer “fresh” (fresco in Italian ).
The cycle is divided into 37 scenes. “The Kiss of Judas” is near the end of the sequence for logical reasons.
This chapel was commissioned by Enrico Scrovengi who was a wealthy banker. There is an interesting portrayal of the Seven Christian virtues: the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and courage. The three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity . There is also an interesting representation of the Vices; 14 individual figures spaced out: seven Virtues and seven Vices.
The allegories of the Vices and Virtues, are embedded in a fake plinth with mirror-like marble slabs on the lower part of the two side walls. The Virtues are on Christ’s right, the side of the blessed, while the Vices, opposite, are on the side of the damned in Hell.
“The antinomies identified by Prudentius” at the beginning of the fifth century are :between Faith and ldolatry, Chastity and Lust, Patience and Anger, Humility and Pride, Temperance and Gluttony, Charity and Avarice.
Dante in the Purgatory, uses this framework to characterize the journey to Paradise, as the obstacles presented by the seven Deadly Sins – Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Avarice (and Prodigality), Greed and Lust – are overcome with the help of the seven opposing Virtues.
Envy, Giotto paints like an old woman, who burns in the flames while inaudible words in the form of a snake come out of her mouth: the animal then turns back against her by biting her nose. The old woman is contrasted by a luxuriant young woman, Charity holding a cornucopia and a filled basket, symbols of abundance, shown above.
Desperation; at the moment of her death a demon comes to carry away the soul of this anonymous woman. This is also how Judas Iscariot is depicted when he hangs himself in art from this period:
Giotto’s “Last Judgment”, covers the wall above the entrance. My favorite fresco is “The Kiss of Judas” which portrays the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.
Giotto was an architect as well as an artist, and may have designed the chapel.
|Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|Inscription||1997 (21st Session)|
Padua is also the birthplace of the famous architect Andrea Palladio and famous scuptor Antonio Canova.