Thursday, November 09, 2006

Santa Croce, Florence

To the the right of the high altar, beyond the rood screen, (hidden by the columns), is the Bardi Chapel, which houses a most sublime icon of St. Francis, done in a traditional iconograpic style.

What is intruiging about his chapel is that the wall paintings by Giotto surround it, and you can clearly see the subtle shifts in the history of art. Whereas the unnamed master of the Francis icon depicts Francis in a very traditional hieratic style, the Giotto frescoes depict emotion and feeling. This is something you don't pick up immediately when you look at a Giotto painting, but when you go to the Bardi Chapel in Santa Croce, and you see both the Master and Giotto together, you see the shift much more clearly. Compare the above icon from the Bardi Chapel and the Giotto detail (depicting the death of St. Francis) below.

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