Montefiore chapel, San Francesco, Assisi
- (c. 1328)The Montefiore Chapel, located in the Lower Church of San Francesco in Assisi, was executed for the Franciscan Cardinal Gentile Partino da Montefiore whose titular church was San Martino ai Monti, Rome. He had close ties to the House of Anjou, and played a key role in obtaining the throne of Hungary for Charles I Carobert, nephew of Robert D'Anjou, king of Naples. The frescoes in his chapel were executed by Simone Martini, one of Duccio's most important pupils and one of the artists to work for Robert in Naples. The scenes depicted relate the story of St. Martin of Tours who lived in the fourth century and to whom Montefiore's titular church is dedicated. Born in Pannonia, St. Martin converted to Christianity at an early age against his parents' wishes. As a soldier in Amiens, he came across a beggar and offered him half his cloak. That night Christ appeared to him in a dream and thanked him for it. For 10 years he lived as a hermit in Ligugé where he preached and meditated until, in 372, he was appointed Bishop of Tours by popular acclaim. He died there in 397 just after having had a premonition that the end was near, which he announced to his followers. In the scenes by Martini, the saint's charity, miraculous deeds, investiture, premonitions, and death are the main subjects. The stories unfold in luxurious courtly settings rendered in convincing perspective, with elegant patterning on the various surfaces. The emphasis on courtly splendor is characteristic of the International Style Martini helped establish when he worked in the papal court of Avignon.
Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. Lilian H. Zirpolo. 2008.
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