Allegory of the growing of the human race through culture


Title: Allegory of the growing of the human race through culture

Author: Ponti Gio, 1891/1979 / Pendini Fulvio, 1907/ 1975 / Dandolo Giovanni, 1891/1961

Date: 1941


The fresco decorates the staircase leading from the Hall of the Heroes to the Rector's plan. The painting depicts a celebration of knowledge and sciences. At the beginning of the scale the naked student starts his path in the knowledge, accompanied by his Master; the allegories of the Natural Sciences, the abstract Sciences (i.e. Geometry and Mathematics), Arts and Moral Sciences follow on the walls of the staircase. On the top of the scale there is the image of the student getting older, with the books falling down from his hands, pronouncing the motto famous in the sixteenth Century: "anchora imparo" (“I’m still learning). On the top is the figure of the Alma Mater: at her feet there are the most famous books produced by scholars throughout the history of the University and on the left there is a sieve, a symbol of the University that promotes only the best. The hole in one corner of the sieve, with a letter by a Minister, is an allusion to the custom of the recommendations. The part of the fresco under the staircase, made at a later time, celebrates the birth of humanity and culture (Chaos, Adam and Eve, the invention of fire).

Materials and techniques: wallpainting/fresco

University of Padua, Historical and artistic Heritage

Cat. Number: OPA00289


  • Semenzato C. 1979, L'Università di Padova: il Palazzo del Bo. Arte e storia, Sarmeola di Rubano (Padova), p. 35.
  • Nezzo M. 2008, Il miraggio della concordia. Documenti sull’architettura e la decorazione del Bo e del Liviano: Padova 1933-1943, Treviso, pp. 403-538.