SIMONE MARTINI
(b. 1280/85, Siena, d. 1344, Avignon)

Miracle of Fire (scene 8)

1320-25
Fresco, 296 x 230 cm
Cappella di San Martino, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

In the scene next to the right bay Simone has painted the Miracle of Fire, a fresco which, like the scene of the resurrected boy, is very badly damaged. The scene illustrates the event immediately after the miracle, when a tongue of flame burst down from Emperor Valentinian's throne after he had refused to grant audience to the Saint. The sovereign, more 14th-century than his colleague Julian, is shown stretching out towards Martin, as though about to embrace him. The figure at the far left is very natural, covering his mouth with his hand in astonishment. The scene is composed of several different architectural structures, including a variety of arches: pointed arches, round arches, four-centred arches. The two-light mullioned windows also appear in two versions: the ogival Gothic variety and the more typically Romanesque. The pilasters, battlements and loggias create an effect of movement and dynamism.