GIOTTO di Bondone
(b. 1267, Vespignano, d. 1337, Firenze)
Scenes from the Life of St Francis: 6. St Francis before the Sultan (Trial by Fire)1325-28
Fresco, 280 x 450 cm
Bardi Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence
This scene is situated at the middle register on the wall right to the entrance of the chapel.
The sultan is enthroned in the centre of the picture and is referring his priests to the fire. Unlike Francis, the latter do not wish to undergo the trial by fire, and they steal away. In this fresco the faces of the foreigners are painted particularly vividly. The coloured faces lead us to conclude that Nubians or Ethiopians were present in Florence.