Photos and Words

A personal blog about thoughts | moods | photos by Arnaldo Pellini

Posts from the ‘architecture’ category

Cappella degli Scrovegni

The Scrovegni Chapel, dedicated to St. Mary of the Charity, frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by Giotto, upon the commission of Enrico degli Scrovegni, is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. The frescoes, which narrate events in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ, cover the entire walls. On the wall opposite the altar is the grandiose Universal Judgement, which concludes the story of human salvation.
The chapel was originally attached to the Scrovegni family palace, built after 1300, following the elliptical outline of the remains of the Roman arena. The Chapel was acquired by the City of Padova in 1880, and the vulnerable frescoes were subjected to several specialized restoration operations during the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Enrico Scrovegni was a Paduan money-lender who lived around the time of Giotto and Dante. He was the son of Reginaldo degli Scrovegni and Capellina Malacapelli, and was married twice, first to a member of the Carrara family, then to Jacopina (Giacomina) d’Este, daughter of Francesco d’Este, Marquis of Ferrara. He may have been a member of the Cavalieri Gaudenti. Enrico is most famous as the patron of Giotto, commissioning the great painter to paint the famous Scrovegni Chapel, c.1303-5, which he also commissioned. There is a tradition that he hired Giotto to atone for the sin of usury, although there is debate about whether this idea has any foundation. Dante placed his father in the Seventh Circle of Hell for his notoriously ill-gotten gains, and Enrico himself was a moneylender on a grand scale; it is these facts that have given rise to the tradition. Against the idea that he founded the chapel as an act of atonement may be cited the fact that it was a very sumptuous commission for his own personal use, attached to the grand palace that he built for himself. In 1320 Enrico Scrovegni fled the wars and civil strife that plagued Padua at the time, and settled in Venice. He was formally banished from Padua in 1328, and died in Venice in 1336

Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019
Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019
Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019
Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019
Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019
Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019
Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019
Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019
Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padova, Italy 2019

At least one photo a day

Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore

The church was founded in 1137 on the site of another church from the 8th century dedicated to St Mary, which had been in turn erected over a Roman temple of the Clemence. The high altar was consecrated in 1185 and in 1187 the presbytery and the transept wings were completed. Due to financial troubles, the works dragged for the whole 13th–14th centuries. The bell tower was built from 1436 (being completed around the end of the century), while in 1481–1491 a new sacristy added after the old one had been destroyed by Bartolomeo Colleoni to erect his personal mausoleum, the Colleoni Chapel.

In 1521, Pietro Isabello finished the south-western portal, also known as Porta della Fontana. The edifice was restored and modified in the 17th century.

Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo 2019
Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo 2019
Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo 2019

At least one photo a day

La piazza

Cremona is first mentioned in history as a settlement of the Cenomani, a Gallic (Celtic) tribe that arrived in the Po valley around 400 BC. However, the name Cremona most likely dates back to earlier settlers and puzzled the ancients, who gave many fanciful interpretations. In 218 BC the Romans established on that spot their first military outpost (a colonia) north of the Po river, and kept the old name. These are some images of the Cathedral Square or City Hall.

Il Torrazzo, Cremona, 2019
Aperitivo, Cremona, 2019
Friends chatting in the piazza, Cremona, 2019
City Hall, Cremona, 2019

1970s design

Design is in the details, Ha Noi 2007

Una cosa che facevo spesso quando vivevo ad Ha Noi era andare a fare un passeggiata in quello che viene chiamato Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound. Il compound era la zona nella quale vivevano le famiglie dello staff delle ambasciate negli anni settanta. Nel 2007, quando ho vissuto ad Ha Noi, rimaneva solo l’Ambasciata della Libia. Negli appartamenti vivono oggi famiglie vietnamiti.

Mi piaceva passeggiare tra i condomini anni settanta e notare il design delle finestre o balcono come quello nella foto. Appartenevano al passato un’era nella quale il mondo era diviso tra Stati Uniti ed Unione Sovietica.

One thing I often did when I lived in Ha Noi was go for a walk in what is called the Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound. The compound was the area where the embassy staff families lived in the 1970s. In 2007, when I lived in Ha Noi, only the Embassy of Libya remained. Vietnamese families live in the apartments today.

I liked walking among the seventies-style apartment buildings and noticing details in the design of the windows or balconies like the one in this photo.

The balcony

The balcony, Ha Noi 2008

Vivevamo vicino al vecchio compound diplomatico di Ha Noi. La sera mi piaceva uscire di casa appena prima di cena e andare a correre tra questi edifici a tre o quattro piani costruiti negli anni 60 e 70. Mi piaceva osservare le facciate di questi condomini. La luce della sera dalle finestre. I balconi degli appartamenti. Le famiglie che si apprestavano alla cena.

We lived near the old Ha Noi diplomatic compound. In the evening I liked leaving the house just before dinner and going for a run between these three and four-story buildings built in the 60s and 70s. I liked to look at the facades of these buildings. Evening lights from the windows. The balconies of the apartments. The families that were preparing for dinner.

One photo a day

My old hometown

La Bertazzola, Cremona 2019

‘What do you think?’, I asked. We had been for more then five minutes in the old piazza and she had not said a word.

We had got here at the right time. The sun setting. The marble facade of the Cathedral turning to a light pink/brown tint.

We walk a bit in the square. She took a deep breath and said: “It is nice to be back.”

One photo a day


This image is about modern architecture
Oodi Central Library, Helsinki (2019)

You walk down the stairs from the old Central Post Office, in between the Kiasma museum. You turn the corner and the new Oodi library suddenly appears.

It reminds me of an old piece of wood that has travelled a long time, carried by waves and the currents across lakes and rivers and that has finally reached a shore where somebody has picked it up and brought it home.

One photo a day

Santa Lucia, Honduras

Last Sunday I went for an afternoon walk to Santa Lucia. It is a small village about 15 km out of Tegucigalpa. There was a nice bright light. The sun was shining, but it was not too hot. Families were in restaurants having lunch and enjoying the good time together. It was a nice day.



Winter cottage

It has been snowing a lot during the last few days. The snow has brought silence in the forest. The wind has stopped blowing. There is an incredible peace if one stops for a moment to listen to the silence.

The Tjong A Fie Mansion in Medan

This is a very elegant two stories house. It has an internal yard with a nice soft light from the sky. Walking through the rooms, seeing old gramophones, faded mirrors, old family pictures in wodden frame, it is possible to imagine large family gatherings for the Chinese New Year.  This is what was once the house of the richest man in town and maybe the whole of Sumatra.

The Tjong A Fie Mansion in Medan

The Tjong A Fie Mansion is a two-story mansion in Medan, North Sumatra, built by Tjong A Fie (1860 – 1921) a Hakka merchant who came to own much of the land in Medan through his plantations, later becoming ‘Majoor der Chineezen’ (leader of the Chinese’) in Medan and constructing the Medan-Belawan railway. Tjong A Fie is said to be related to Cheong Fatt Tze, who built the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Penang, Malaysia. The building is constructed in Chinese-European-Art Deco style, and was completed in 1900, and said to have been modeled on the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion.

London underground n.5

London tube

Infinity – by Arnaldo Pellini

It is nice to walk from one station to the other. Look at the tunnels that connects different underground lines. Low down to the floor level and seek a different point of view.

32 snapshots from a trip by train across Europe

Today is my birthday and I wanted to make a present to myself by publishing 32 snapshots I took during the Inter Rail tip I did last July with my family. It is not true that Inter Rail can be done only when you are in your twenties Travelling by train again after a long time spent in Southeast Asia  has been a bit like going back in time and re-discover how diverse, interesting, and full of surprises Europe is. Catching trains, booking youth hostels, packing the rucksack has been a great and fun way to travel with my family. I am now back in Jakarta ready for another interesting year living and working in Indonesia.

Chinatown, Singapore

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