MASTER of the Isaac Stories
(active 1290s)

Vault with the Church Fathers

c. 1295
Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi

The attribution of the fresco is debated. Originally Vasari attributed it to Cimabue, however, this attribution was rejected at the end of the 18th century. Since then some critics attributed it to Pietro Cavallini or one of his followers; Jacopo Torriti or a follower, the young Giotto or a follower.

In the four compartments of the vault in the entrance bay the artist portrays the four Doctors of Church together with their scribes: in the south (at the top of the illustration) St Augustine and opposite him, St Ambrose; in the east (to the left) St Jerome, and in the west St Gregory. The architectural structures jut up from below into the gold background. The painter conveys a definite idea of the intellectual work of these saints through the great attention to detail and the perspectival accuracy.

The picture shows the vault before the 1997 earthquake.