Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Devil is in the Details – Giotto’s Cloud Solution



The basilica in Assisi is famous as the burial place of St. Francis. It is also known for its amazing frescos depicting the life and death of St. Francis, partly painted by Giotto di Bondone (known as Giotto) in the 13th century.

The basilica was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1997. Restoration work took years under the auspice of Professor Sergio Fusetti, the chief restorer.

But it was Italian art historian Chiara Frugone who made an amazing discovery. She noticed the face of a devil hidden in the details of clouds at the top of fresco number 20. It shows a profile of a figure with a hooked nose, a sly smile, and dark horns hidden among the clouds. Although the figure is difficult to see from the floor of the basilica, it can be clearly seen up close.

According to Fusetti, Giotto probably never wanted the image of the devil to be a main part of the fresco and may have painted it in among the clouds "to have a bit of fun." Quite likely, Giotto painted this devil to get back at someone he clearly despised.

Hurray for Giotto! His cloud solution gave a new meaning to “the devil is in the details”!

2 comments:

James Best said...

How do you NOT see the OTHER face right below the devil"

Tammi Vaughan said...

I personally do Not think that this image was placed within the clouds by the Artist upon Purpose! My reasoning is due to a similar image that appeared within the clouds of one of my paintings titled "The Last Prayer For Mankind" By: Tammi Vaughan. This image was pointed out to me from a Gallery Owner and I did not paint it intentionally among othr images that "Just Appeared such as Christ". I know that these are messages and do not take for granted that they were placed within the artwork on purpose! Tammi vaughan dot com Christian Art "The Last Prayer For Mankind".