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Giotto di Bondone, God the Father (1303-1305)

Musei Civici agli Eremitani, Padua

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Author: Giotto di Bondone
Subject: God The Father
Dating: 1303-1305
Technique: tempera on wood panel
Dimensions: 150x95 cm
Location: Musei Civici agli Eremitani, Padua

The wood panel depicting God The Father on the throne was originally located in the upper part of the triumphal arch of the Scrovegni Chapel.
Today it is located in the Musei Civici agli Ermitani in Padua and is provisionally replaced in the Chapel by a copy.
The altar-piece is inside the representation of the History of Salvation that unwinds itself among the frescoes of the chapel: God The father is portrayed while He’s calling the Archangel Gabriel to ask him to descend on earth and announce the Madonna that She will become the mother of the Saviour.
The panel was hinged to the wall, and originally had the function of a door: a kind of window that was opened during the special liturgies that were held every year inside the chapel on the occasion of the Annunciation Day.
The panel is pretty damaged, yet it is possible to grasp the direct intervention of Giotto who paints the drapery of the clothes and the volume of the figure with quick and determined stroke. Thorough care is given to the golden decoration on the hems of the dress and to the architectural construction of the throne, with a structure that highlights the strong influence of classic art, and especially of Arnolfo di Cambio works, who Giotto directly mentioned also in several details of the Chapel's frescoes.

Photo Shoot

Image Size: 100.193.694 pixel (16.057 x 24.942)
Colour Depht: 16 bit for channel
Shooting: December 2008
Shots: 80

Camera: Nikon D3 
Acquisition Software: Nikon Camera Control Pro 2
Postprocessing Software: Nikon Capture NX 2


Courtesy by Comune di Padova - Direzione Musei

Musei Civici agli Eremitani

All rights reserved

Giotto di Bondone (Florence 1267 - 1337)

The site of the Scrovegni Chapel represents a turning point in the pictorial path of Giotto.
At the beginning of his work, after the first contacts with Cimabue, Arnolfo di Cambio, and the Roman artistic culture, Giotto participates in the decoration of the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi: in particular, the critics have identified in the Stories of Isaac on the Nave of the Upper Basilica, the first personal and independent intervention of Giotto.
However, it is in the Stories of Saint Francis painted in the lower part of the nave, where Giotto imposed himself as an independent and famous artist.
Giotto worked on the Franciscan Stories between 1288 – when Niccolò IV ascended to the papal throne, the first pope from the Franciscan Order – and 1297. Thanks to the success gained in Assisi, he was commissioned important works in Rome, by Pope Boniface VIII, as well as in Florence, where his presence is documented in 1301. Those are the years of the Crucifix in Santa Maria Novella, of the Polittico di Badia at the Uffizi gallery, of the Crucifix in the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini: in these works, he enhances the use of colours, chiaroscuro, volumes of the figures in relation to the space, improving his already innovative language tested in Assisi.
The peak of this path is the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. Giotto worked at it between 1303 and 1305, and the critics quite agree on ascribing to the Master the conceiving of the composition of the structure, as well as the frescoes that cover the whole surface of the chapel. During this decorative campaign, Giotto also painted the wood panel with God The father on the Throne, set in the big arch of the Chapel, and the wooden Cross, which are currently located in the Museo degli Eremitani.
Upon completion of this work, he returned to Assisi, where he painted the frescoes of the Maddalena Chapel in the Lower Basilica, before going to Rome (around 1311) where he worked on the mosaic portraying the Navicella degli Apostoli (The Apostoles' small ship) in the atrium of the Basilica of Saint Peter.
In the following years, Giotto was invited at the most important Italian courts and families: to Naples, at the Angevine Court, and to Milan, where he worked for Azzone Visconti.
The last big frescoes executed by the Master are in Florence in the Basilica di Santa Croce: the Life Episodes of Saint John the Evangelist and of Saint John the Baptist in Cappella Peruzzi, and the Life Episodes of Saint Francis on the walls of Cappella Bardi.
In his last years, Giotto even ventured on the design of the Campanile of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, whose construction began in 1334, three years before he died.