Description of the artwork «Magnification of the common man (The Holy One predicts the coming glory to the young Francis). The Legend of St. Francis»
Lived in the XII century in the Italian city of Assisi, a rich cloth-maker named Pietro de Bernardon dei Moriconi. His business - international trade in silk - flourished. Bernardon was a sybarite and a Francophile, he liked to sing the serenades of troubadours in French and did not deny himself anything. He was just on business in France, when in Assisi he had a son. The infant was called Giovanni, but the father who returned was immediately "re-named" him Francis - in honor of his beloved France and all French.
Francis Bernardode was from seven children in the family the only son, so he was spoiled and groomed. Turning into a young man, he became the leader of the French "golden youth", who was repeatedly elected "king of feasts". And one day, when Francis and his friends were walking with cheerful friends through the streets of Assisi, a fool, a local fool, ran up to them, to whose strange antics the townspeople had long ceased to pay attention, "A man simple but wise with God", as later theologians will say. He took off his cloak and spread it under Franciscus's feet. It is this episode we see on the fresco of Giotto for the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.
What does this mean? Understand the meaning of this action can one who recalls the story of the Evangelist Luke about the entrance of Christ to Jerusalem. Christ rode on a donkey, and people, greeting him, "They spread their clothes on the way". The inhabitants of Assisi did not understand this and laughed at Francis. They could not guess that Francis would soon experience a spiritual revolution, renounce the rich and sinful life, preach poverty and mercy, change the appearance of Catholic monasticism and become, without exaggeration, the most famous of all Christian saints.
It is interesting that, although the meaning of this episode from the series about St. Francis - the first, Giotto, apparently, fulfilled it last. This is evidenced by a somewhat changed compared with other frescoes of the cycle and a more mature manner of execution. It is assumed that Giotto did not dare to proceed to painting this fragment of the church wall for a long time because of the bulging beam - we can see it on a fresco above the triangular pediment of the building.
Giotto was one of the first in Italian painting who began to write architecture and interiors. If the frescoes of the Gothic type of construction were always depicted as conditional, then Giotto made them real. And those buildings that are depicted in the mural "Magnification of the common man", - in general, genuine images of existing buildings in the city of Assisi - Palazzo Pubblico and the temple of the goddess Minerva in the Plaza del Commune.
In 1997, Assisi was shocked by a 6-point earthquake. The upper church of the Basilica of St. Francis was cracked and partially destroyed, buried under the rubble of four people. Precious frescoes of Cimabue and Giotto with an area of 213 meters (the first in history and the most thorough cycle about the life of St. Francis) were lost. Italian volunteers manually shoveled piles of debris. Now what's left of Giotto's frescoes is more than a hundred thousand scattered fragments. How to deal with the interior decoration of the restored church, have not yet decided. Italian restorers hope to restore the paintings on the pieces. Those who consider this unrealizable, suggest using modern equipment to project onto the walls the color slides of the Giotti frescoes.