Wednesday 21 November 2018, Presentazione della BeataVergine Maria
Paolo Groppo - Copyright

Arche Scaligere

Historical Notes. The Scala family arches are among the most distinguished monuments of gothic art in Verona.
As early as the end of the sixteenth century the arches presented serious problems of conservation. This is a theme that will be re-proposed to the attention of those responsible for public administration. While a complete restoration of the arch of Mastino was performed in 1786, it must be remembered that there was a general project of restoration in 1839. John Ruskin, who wrote of the how grace of the activity of building, the grace that once seemed to be reserved to churches, had been employed by the Scala family in sepulchres, not like the tombs saints, but like the place where people who have fallen asleep live.

Architecture and Art. The Arches, which date from the XIV century, are the work of various sculptors, including two that distinguish themselves in two successive worksites.
Entering, along the wall of the church, there is the tomb of Mastino I. The shape of the sarcophagus is extremely simple: the cover with two overhanging elements and four previously fixed ones recalls Roman use. Further on, isolated, lies the tomb of Alberto I. The Sarcophagus is richly storied, and repeats, in an architectural form, the tomb of Mastino I. The primary phases are adorned with the symbols of evangelists and the figure of the Patriarchs. The cover bears, among slight decorations, the imperial coat of arms, flanked by two Scala family coats of arms.
The three simple tombs near the external perimeter wall probably belong to Bartholomew I, Cangrande II and Bartholomew II or Bailardo Nogarola, respectively.
Above the lateral door of S. Maria Antica, there is the magnificent mausoleum of Cangrande I, who died on 22nd June 1329. The sarcophagus is supported by for symbolic dogs, which uphold the Scala family coat of arms. On the front face, three small statues have been placed. On the rear one you can see Verona with her surrounding Scala family walls. Above the cover of the Sarcophagus, it is the supine statue of Cangrande. Four columns support the canopy, which is thrown like the trunk of a pyramid upwards, and culminates in the marvellous statue on horseback. The second door of the gate leads to the sepulchre of Mastino II. The sarcophagus rests on the four pillars. Mastino lies there with an emaciated and bearded face. The sarcophagus still bears traces of the ancient colours. Four sharp pinnacles make up the crown, with the between the three gables, the central spire, upon which the monumental horseback figure of the seigniory rests, completely closed in a solid armour and with his face concealed. The last arch of Cansignorio, which is richer and has more movement than the previous ones, but is not of such high artistic value. The sarcophagus rests on pillars substituted by four couples of nude putties of almost renaissance inspiration. Along the faces of the urn evangelistic stories are sculpted. Around the listel at the base, on the east side, the signature of the author of this mausoleum is engraved: Bonino da Campione. Translated in the Scala tomb in 1831, it is the sepulchre of Giovanni della Scala, placed at the back of the cemetery, on the external wall of the house adjacent to the church. The original statues of Cangrande and Mastino have been transferred in order to ensure they are properly conserved.

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Guides: Firenze, Roma, Venezia, Verona.