GIOTTO di Bondone
(b. 1267, Vespignano, d. 1337, Firenze)

Legend of St Francis: 18. Apparition at Arles

Fresco, 270 x 230 cm
Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi

This is the eighteenth of the twenty-eight scenes (twenty-five of which were painted by Giotto) of the Legend of Saint Francis.

During a meeting of the order, St. Anthony of Padua was preaching in the cloister at Aries - Giotto shows a generously proportioned Gothic room. Suddenly, Francis appeared. Giotto depicts the saint with outspread arms - the resulting shape of the cross alludes to his Christ-like life. Only St. Anthony, who had just been speaking about Christ, and one other member of the Order notice the apparition. Giotto shows all the others listening with full attention. The figures seen from the back are also particularly impressive, the artist making the weight of the bodies plain for all to see.