Giotto Di Bondone
St Francis offers his mantle to a poor man
Upper Church of San Fransesco, Assisi, Italy
Because he is the very first painter I saw in reality which took my breath away. This was in the Scrovegni chapel at Padova, Italy.
Even so I chose a painting from the Church of St Francis in Assisi, because in this image it’s even more clear how every part of the image works together to envisage the emotion.
It’s one of the scenes of the life of St Francis in the Upper Church in Assisi. In a sequence of 28 panels his life is depicted as told by Bonaventure in 1293.
This panel shows St Francis offering his mantle to a poor man. The landscape, the sky and the figures all shape up the puzzle called life. All elements in the image are shown in a parallel plane; the gesture of giving is both an image and a story told.
You could call the life of St Francis examplary for the art of Giotto: in all images there is balance of space and shapes which are equal in weight and importance, and in which every detail is part of the bigger miracle.
Of which St Francis speaks as brother sun and sister moon and all our brothers and sisters: sky, clouds, birds, plants, grass and light.
Bettie van Haaster, 2013
oil on canvas
35 x 25 cm