Magazine
Latest Issue

Pietro Cavallini

Giotto's fresco cycle in Assisi started the Renaissance. But it now turns out that it was not actually by Giotto. The history of western art will have to be rewritten around an obscure Roman artist

By Alasdair Palmer   December 1997

The disastrous earthquake in Umbria at the end of September seemed to have destroyed one of the most precious and important works of art in the world: the cycle of frescos depicting the life of St Francis, in the Upper Basilica in Assisi. Television pictures from inside the Basilica looked awful: dust, rubble, shards of shattered plaster.

A 13th century painting by Cimabue on the ceiling was pulverised, and the bell tower was left in imminent danger of collapse, but the quake miraculously spared the cycle of frescos on the walls of the Upper Basilica. Thousands of people still shivering…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect