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

Burial of St Martin (scene 10)

1320-25
Fresco, 284 x 230 cm
Cappella di San Martino, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

The frescoes of the Death and Funeral on the upper level are the last scenes of the cycle. Animated by light, colour and spatial depth, both these scenes have the same composition, with a crowd of acolytes and followers witnessing the events. The same characters, with the same features but depicted in different poses and with different gestures appear in both scenes: the priest celebrating the ritual of the deceased in the scene of Martin's Death appears in the fresco of the Funeral between the two figures with haloes; the tonsured acolyte dressed in green and red who in the Death is gazing meditatively upwards, in the Funeral is shown holding the celebrant's dalmatic.

Another interesting element is the way the architectural style of the scenes follows the mood of the events: while the building in the scene of the Death of St Martin is a severe geometrical structure with bare walls, the Funeral takes place in a Gothic chapel with graceful and delicate decorations.