(b. 1289/1309, Bologna, d. 1359/69, Bologna)

Fresco decoration

Pomposa Abbey, Codigoro near Ferrara

Pomposa Abbey, dedicated to St Mary, is a Benedictine monastery in Codigoro near Ferrara, Italy. It was one of the most important in northern Italy, famous for the Carolingian manuscripts preserved in its rich library, one of the wealthiest of Carolingian repositories, and for the Romanesque buildings. The church is an example of a triple-nave Ravennan basilica with arcaded aisles and carpentry rafters, originating in the 7th-9th centuries.

The church received an extensive fresco decoration in 1351 by Vitale da Bologna and his workshop. It included an apse with Christ enthroned in a mandorla among angels and saints, the evangelists, and the church fathers, as well as scenes from the life of St Eustace; nave walls with scenes from the Old and New Testaments, including numerous motifs from the Apocalypse; and on the entrance wall a Last Judgment. Besides a similarly comprehensive pictorial program encountered later (c. 1378) in the baptistery of Padua by Giusto de' Menabuoi, there are no other parallels in this period. The complete decoration of a church remained an exception in the fourteenth century, despite the example of San Francesco in Assisi, which is a special case.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.