GIOTTO di Bondone
(b. 1267, Vespignano, d. 1337, Firenze)
Legend of St Francis: 11. St Francis before the Sultan (Trial by Fire)1297-1300
Fresco, 270 x 230 cm
Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi
This is the eleventh of the twenty-eight scenes (twenty-five of which were painted by Giotto) of the Legend of Saint Francis.
In order to convert the sultan to the Christian faith, Francis is prepared to undergo a trial by fire. The saint stands in the centre of the picture, points to the fire and turns towards the sultan. The latter appears surprised and annoyed that his own priests are running away. Giotto pictures the anxious priests and the suddenly powerless sultan most vividly.
This scene was executed partly by assistants.