GIOTTO di Bondone
(b. 1267, Vespignano, d. 1337, Firenze)
Legend of St Francis: 2. St Francis Giving his Mantle to a Poor Man1297-99
Fresco, 270 x 230 cm
Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi
This is the second of the twenty-eight scenes (twenty-five of which were painted by Giotto) of the Legend of Saint Francis but this was painted first, while the first scene was the last. A stylistic difference between the first two scenes can be observed.
Francis hands his valuable golden cloak to an impoverished citizen. The scene takes place in front of two rocky hills, on whose peaks two very different types of architecture rise up - the world of the city and of the cloister confront one another here. The descending slopes meet behind the figure of the saint, emphasizing his position in the picture, as well as characterizing his situation in life: this is a first indication that the saint will decide to lead a secluded life of poverty.