The history of Padova, of its territory and its people is shown in the wide rooms of the Eremitani Civic Museum.|
On the ground floor is the Museum of Archaeology. This begins with the pre-Roman section, where artefacts found in the numerous necropolises in the area are exhibited and a unique series of Venetic stelae; after there is the Roman section with a large number of portraits, monuments and mosaics.
On the first floor is housed the Museo Bottacin; established in 1865 thanks to the bequest of Nicola Bottacin, it contains over five thousand pieces, including coins, medals and seals (Roman medallions, Venetian series of coins) and works of art, especially 19th century: the Bottacin collection formerly included the panel paintings by Guariento representing the Virgin and Child with Saints and Angel and Group of Twelve Seated Angels, now in the Art Gallery.
This section, which begins with a Crucifix by Giotto, contains paintings from the 13th to the 16th century (Jacopo da Verona, Jacopo and Giovanni Bellini, Girolamo Romanino, Giorgione, etc.); at present it concludes with the Emo Capodilista collection, in which there are no less than 543 paintings, and the Renaissance bronze sculpture section.
Closely linked to this museum is the Cappella degli Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), which is the masterpiece of hte fourteenth century Italian and European painting. The interior consists of an aisleless nave with a barrel vault and a small apse; the latter was added subsequently to house the Tomb of Enrico Scrovegni. The decoration of the interior was executed from 1303-1305 by Giotto. The fresco cycle is based on the concept of the salvation of mankind expressed through the "Life of the virgin and Christ". In thirty-six scenes arranged in three tiers, the great florentine master depicted the lives of Mary and Jesus, illustarting the theme of the Redemption which is concluded on the entrance wall with the "Last Judgement".
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