GOZZOLI, Benozzo
(b. ca. 1420, Firenze, d. 1497, Pistoia)

Scenes from the Life of St Francis (Scene 3, south wall)

Fresco, 270 x 220 cm
Apsidal chapel, San Francesco, Montefalco

The Vision of San Damiano (on the lost stained-glass window) is followed by the Renunciation of Worldly Goods, the last of the scenes from the saint's youth. The scene takes place before the backdrop of a city.

The saint's father and his retinue take up two thirds of the foreground. On his left arm he carries his son's clothes, in the right he is holding his belt. A narrow space separates him from Francis, who is seen by the observer in a frontal view at prayer. A bishop is covering the saint with his pluvial, which indicates the religious nature of the scene, for it was worn by priests and bishops on ceremonial occasions other than Mass. The contrasting depiction of the father and son expresses the dramatic nature of their conflict, supported by the arrangement of two opposing groups of figures: the secular group is in movement, the religious one frozen. The explanatory inscription reads: QUALITER B. F. CORA(M) EPISCOPO ASISII REN(UNTIA)VIT PATRI HEREDITATEM PATERNAM ET O(M)NIA VESTIMENTA ET FEMORALIA PATRI REIECIT - "How St Francis renounces his father's inheritance before the bishop of Assisi and his father, and throws his upper garment and hose down before his father."