Description of the picture:
Capella Bardi – Giotto di Bondone. 1320-1328. Frescoes. 280 x 450 cm.
Chapel Bardi is a small chapel in the Florentine church of Santa Croce. The mural in question has not yet reached our days, with small surface imperfections that do not interfere, but with a holistic perception of the image.
On the walls of the chapel are seven scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi. They have a unique shape – very elongated extensive rectangles. To create the images, not only the fresco technique was used – on wet plaster, but also secko – on a dry, only moistened with water wall. In part, this led to the loss of a certain amount of the paint layer. The large size of the frescoes allowed the artist, who clearly worked with a large team of apprentices and students, to create very expressive and large-scale multi-figure compositions.
One of Giotto’s most frequently mentioned works in this chapel is Death, Confirmation of Stigmata, and the Ascension of St. Francis. This is an extensive image of a dying saint with a flying soul surrounded by a grief-stricken brotherhood. While most members of his brotherhood are shocked by the loss of their teacher and leader, expressing their grief with various gestures, a group of senior priests examine the body of the saint to find out if he really had stigmata. This is a necessary procedure for canonization, in other words, the official recognition of the holiness of man by the church.
Another bright and very original fresco, unfortunately, also not fully preserved, is the image placed on the southern wall of the chapel, called “Test by the fire before the Sultan.” Unlike the previous fresco, which is gloomy in color and content, this one is distinguished by bright, rich colors that have retained their intensity and attractiveness for almost 700 years."