Giotto in Assisi
The “forgotten” chapel of St. Nicholas in the Cathedral of Assisi, having been closed for almost a century, is reopened to the public after restoration
One of the hidden gems of the cathedral is the chapel of St. Nicholas, decorated with a circle of frescoes unseen by most as it has been used only by the friars and even by them very seldom. The chapel was commissioned by the papal legate, cardinal Napoleone Orsini to house the tomb of his brother, a deacon, who died between 1292 and 1294. His funerary monument was placed in a niche above the altar. Between the tomb and the stained glass window a frescoed triptych was painted, representing the Madonna and Child with St. Nicholas and St. Francis. To this was added a cycle of frescoes comprising twelve scenes from the life of St. Nicholas.
Equipped with the experience from the post-earthquake restoration, the process began in 2010, to restore the chapel of St. Nicholas of Bari at the Northern end of the transept in the lower basilica.
But who painted the frescoes? For along time it was considered from “the school of Giotto”. Recently, however, a signature “GB” was found placed at a strategic point on one of the vaults. It is believed that the signature refers to Giotto di Bondone (1266- 1337). And that he in fact painted the frescoes early in his life…