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Padova* in Summer

(*Anglicized as Padua)

 

Link to Padova Hotels

 

LINK TO EARLIER PADOVA PAGE

 

LINK TO INSIGHT PAGE ON GREAT EQUESTRIAN STATUES OF THE RENAISSANCE

 

 

 

Saint Anthony (c1195 - 1231 (36)), was a few years younger than Saint Francis (1182 - 1226 (44)), from whom he drew inspiration.  Born in Lisbon and christened Ferdinand, he travelled widely "waiting for a call" and eventually connected up to the Franciscans, taking the name of the original hermit Saint in Egypt.  He settled in Padova, but preached far and wide.   Today the huge Franciscan Basilica, complete with a fascinating mix of Italian, Byzantine and Islamic architecture and the Saint's tomb, is a mega pilgrimage centre for this medieval saint with an essentially modern role as the .....

 

The Patron Saint of the Lost

 .......think about that.

 

To the left of the facade, sadly almost completely unnoticed by the large numbers passing by, is Donatello's equestrian statue of Venetian Condottiere Erasmo da Narni, called Gattamelata ("the honeyed cat") (c.1370 - 1443 (73)).   Donatello (1396 - 1466 (70)) took ten years to complete (in around 1450) this magnificent work,  which is not surprising when you realize that it was the first major equestrian statue to be made in Europe since before the end of the Roman Empire one thousand years earlier (and he was working on stuff in the basilica at the same time).

 

Link to Insight Page on Great Equestrian Statues of the Renaissance

 

The early morning sun lights up the angel weathervane, venetian domes and minaret style bell towers of the Basilica of Sant' Antonio

 

 

 

Above is an unusual view of Donatello's equestrian statue of Condottiere Gattamelata ("The Honeyed Cat") - the first full sized equestrian statue to be made in Europe for at least a thousand years.  The photograph is unusual because it is taken from the East side of the statue, which is in shadow from early morning - most photographers obviously only go to work after lunch!  For example, try finding a photo of the east facing Apse of Trani Cattedrale!  The photo at the top of the page and those lower down are after lunch and siesta.

 

 

And the bonus detail for early rising is this cheeky Donatello cherub.  There are a few actually but this one is the most seductive.

 

More from Donatello

 

 

 

The Scrovegni Chapel, built (1303 - 1306) as a penance by the younger Scrovegni to make up for the successful family usurer businesses (and the fact that the family had comandeered the ancient Roman stadium to build their flash palazzo in, and the fact that his Dad had been consigned to hell by Dante in the Divine Comedy).  Giotto (1266 - 1337 (71)) at his formidable best plus roses and magnolia trees outside. 

 

 

This year, also with a major exhibition in the huge art museum next door to celebrate the 700th birthday of Petrarch - one of the greatest Italian poets, who also built up one of Europe's finest libraries (and lived a lot of his life in Padova). 

 

The Scrovegni Chapel was lucky to survive the Second World War.  On the 11 March 1944, 111 USAAF B17 bombers dropped 34 tons of bombs - in theory on Padova's railway station and railway martialling yards.  Many bombs in fact descended into the distant town itself, and one destroyed the apse and side chapels (and outstanding frescos by Andrea Montegna) of the Chiesa degli Eremeti - the 1200s church literally a stone's throw away from the Scrovegni chapel.  In the Chiesa degli Eremeti you will find an after the bombing aerial photograph which pointedly shows just how far away from the target the church and many bomb craters were.

 

 

On the left, a coffee table sized art book published by Skira - everything that you would expect (lots of stunning plates including lots of close-up detail)  from the country of the world's best art book publishers.

 

   

 

 

  

 

An August 2008 art book about the famous Giotto frescos in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.

Gattamelata again - this time after lunch!  It took just under an hour for pigeon Cheryl to give up her head seat, where she was busy chatting to various friends who flew in.  Still, we were equal to the task of waiting, particularly as the photographing point was a pleasant cafe over the road, and if you are looking at someone who is over 550 years old and have a few Morettis on hand, time does not seem to be that important.  None of the many English speaking student visitors passing through the cafe seemed to have any idea of the significance of the man and horse across the street!

 

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