What if the lost architectural substance of medieval Rome, the city in which Giotto served as a painter to the Pope, can be partially recovered with the help of modern scientific, archaeological, and digital tools? What can we learn about the medieval forum during the First Jubilee in the year 1300, where the Papal procession featured ancient monuments in the frame of their Christian medieval context? How can archaeological findings about colours change our understanding of Giotto’s eye-deceiving murals in his most famous chapel, decorated soon after the Jubilee in the city of Padua? The lecture offers a new reading of the Arena Chapel / Scrovegni Chapel in relation to the vanished Palazzo Scrovegni and of the Roman monuments in relation to the vanished Palazzo Frangipani on the ancient-medieval, Christianized Forum Romanum. Questions of polychromy become questions of medium, iconography, iconology, critical historiography, and intellectual modernity of the chapel’s design.
Henrike C. Lange holds a joint appointment in the University of California, Berkeley’s Departments of Italian Studies and History of Art. She specializes in European medieval and early modern art, architecture, visual culture, and literature in relation to the Mediterranean. She has a second area of expertise in nineteenth and twentieth century historiography, literature, and art in Europe and the United States. Her scholarship focuses on questions of perspective, narrative, medium, materiality, and spirituality in specific historical contexts. She is currently working on a monograph on Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel and the Roman Jubilee of 1300.