Founded in 1228, the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi is the burial place of the well-known saint and the mother church of the Franciscan order of monks. It is also a treasure house of art, decorated with monumental frescoes by some of the greatest painters of the 13th and 14th centuries. This book takes its readers on a guided tour of this magnificent complex, aided by a wealth of beautiful photographs. Rarely seen details allow the personal imprints of the artists to shine through, and demonstrate that beyond their diversity of styles, they were all united by a desire to mirror reality while maintaining a sense of the spiritual and the sublime. This unmatched artistic heritage marks a revolutionary era in the flowering of Italian art.
The Upper Church is perhaps most famed for its sequence of frescoes that celebrate the life and teachings of St Francis, attributed to Giotto and his workshop, while Cimabue and his followers were responsible for a series of dramatic scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The Lower Church, meanwhile, has been expanded through the addition of several magnificent chapels; their titular saints are commemorated with great imagination and immediacy in works by artists including Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti.