Image permission and credit: Cappella degli Scrovegni di Padova
La Speranza ( Spes ) is a fresco (120x60 cm) by Giotto , dated around 1306 and part of the cycle of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.
The series of the Virtues (right wall) and the Vices (left wall) decorate the lower part of the walls, located in correspondence with the ornamental bands on the left and in a position out of phase with the scenes on the right, due to the presence of the windows. Precise correspondences link the opposite scenes in the walls and generally symbolize, for those entering the chapel, the path in real life towards the bliss, helped by the Virtues against the dangers of the vices.
The nineteenth-century criticism (then resumed by Gnudi) relegated a bit 'superficially these monochrome depictions among the work performed by the workshop, while the subsequent criticism (from Marangoni on, 1942) has recognized a more substantial contribution of the master, coming to establish a almost sure autograph for the best of the cycle. In any case, these are works of remarkable quality, as shown by the fine attention to detail. Salvini praised the immediacy and psychological reflection that animates the figures and their choice.
Each representation has the name in Latin above and below contained an explanatory wording (always in Latin), today almost always illegible.
The choice of representing monochrome figures among marble mirrors, like false bas-reliefs, had a formidable echo in art, which spread again in the Renaissance, from the external windows of the Flemish polyptychs to Raphael's Rooms, from the Chamber of the Abbess of Correggio to the fake statues of the Farnese Gallery.