Halley's comet in the Scrovegni ChapelHistorical Curiosities
Halley's comet in the Scrovegni Chapel
The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua is certainly one of the most incredible places of Western art! Inside it, you can admire the magnificent frescoes that the Florentine painter Giotto created at the beginning of the 14th century, depicting stories of the life of the Virgin and Christ and the Last Judgment on the counter-façade.
In the upper central tier - on the right hand-side wall looking towards the altar - we find the Adoration of the Magi. The Three Wise Men have come to the child, following the comet star seen at the top: the scene takes place under a scaffolding and the Magi wear red sandals, a symbol of royalty.
The first and eldest king is kneeling and has laid his crown on the ground and his gift is probably the golden reliquary held by the angel on the right. The second king, also in his later years, carries a horn full of incense. The youngest bears a cup whose lid he has lifted to show the myrrh ointment contained inside it.
Some details are related to the daily life of the 14th century, such as the 'modern' structure of the hut or the shape of the clothes, like the one worn by the angel with a sleeve narrow at the wrists and wide at the elbows.
For the comet star depicted at the top - which guided the Three Magi Kings - Giotto apparently drew inspiration from the Comet of Halley, which he saw during its passage in the sky in 1301-1302.
In selected dates the Scrovegni Chapel opens its doors even in the evening, to allow visitors to enjoy the magic of this extraordinary place even beyond the normal daytime opening hours. Check the availability for evening visits to the Scrovegni Chapel and choose to conveniently book online: places are limited!
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