Title: Gli affreschi della cappella carrarese a Padova: le origini bizantine della narrazione visiva di Guariento
Source document: Opuscula historiae artium. 2013, vol. 62, iss. Supplementum, pp. 76-97
ISSN1211-7390 (print)2336-4467 (online)
License: Not specified license
This article illustrates the contribution of Byzantine art in the Italian Trecento by analysing the different processes of storytelling in Guariento's frescoes, completed around 1354, and representing stories from the Old Testament in the Carrarese Chapel in Padua (today the Assembly Hall of the Accademia Patavina di Scienze, Lettere e Arti). It focuses on some elements of the narrative, such as the peculiar use of rocky landscapes and continuous space. By comparing it with illustrated manuscripts, such as the Vienna Genesis, the Joshua Roll and other psalters of the Macedonian Renaissance, the aim is to demonstrate the Byzantine roots of these visual devices, and more specifically their links to these paleo-Byzantine and medio-Byzantine manuscripts. How these models were known to Guariento is nonetheless still unclear – only hypotheses can be made about the possible role of miniature, crusade manuscripts from Bologna as well as the presence of some Byzantine manuscripts in Venetian libraries. Here, I propose that the choice of a Byzantine narrative reflects the political intention of its commissioner, Francesco Il Vecchio, and conveys the imperial connotation attached to these Byzantine manuscripts and scenes of the Old Testament.