In this book, Henrike Lange takes the reader on a tour through one of the most beloved and celebrated monuments in the world – Giotto’s Arena Chapel. Paying close attention to previously overlooked details, Lange offers an entirely new reading of the stunning frescoes in their spatial configuration. The author also asks fundamental questions that define the chapel’s place in Western art history. Why did Giotto choose an ancient Roman architectural frame for his vision of Salvation? What is the role of painted reliefs in the representation of personal integrity, passion, and the human struggle between pride and humility familiar from Dante’s Divine Comedy? How can a new interpretation regarding the influence of ancient reliefs and architecture inform the famous “Assisi controversy” and cast new light on the debate around Giotto’s authorship of the Saint Francis cycle?
Illustrated with almost 200 color plates, including individual images of each scene in the narrative cycle, this volume invites scholars and students to rediscover a key monument of art and architecture history and to see it with fresh eyes.
“Henrike Lange’s book on Giotto’s Arena Chapel changes our view of this key work of painting in Italy around 1300.” – Ulrich Pfisterer, Director of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte; LMU, Munich
“Dr. Lange’s discovery is so all-encompassing and so to the point… It is now possible to bridge the Anglo-Saxon and Italian views of Giotto where once they were thought to be irreconcilable: a great step forward for the field.” – Laurence B. Kanter, Chief Curator, Yale University Art Gallery
“Lange shows how the theme of triumph is at once central and inexhaustible in the Arena Chapel – its structure, imagery, physical presence, context. The book is itself a vivid triumphal procession of ways of seeing, scholarship, discovery, and critical thinking.” – Randolph Starn, UC Berkeley History
“Lange’s discovery is completely new and original: an entirely convincing case built on the foundations of history, literature, philosophy, political iconography, and theology.” – Andrew Stewart, UC Berkeley History of Art and Classics
“Lange has the rare ability to build bridges for the reader with her command of European languages that allow her to translate and integrate the vast libraries of research on Giotto written in different linguistic and scholarly traditions. The very elegance and clarity of her writing suggest that Lange’s will be a contribution of real significance and will have quite an impact on medieval and Renaissance studies.” – Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of Italian, Yale University
“At its heart Lange’s impressive book relays an intensely visual argument. It is a scholarly triumph in itself to explicate the intimate relation – architectural, political, theological – between the Arena Chapel and a famous Roman prototype, the Arch of Titus. All scholars and students of the period will need to engage this powerful historical proposition and its implications for Italian Trecento visual culture. But Lange also finds the full measure of Giotto’s triumph as a painter.” – Whitney Davis, UC Berkeley History of Art
[from publisher’s site]
Henrike Christiane Lange is Associate Professor in History of Art and Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Lange completed her Magister Artium at Universität Hamburg, Germany, before earning her PhD at Yale University. The present book is the culmination of two decades of research at sites, archives, and collections across Europe.