Tuesday, December 16, 2014

THE BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS IN ASSISI Edited by Gianfranco Malafarina

If you’ve visited the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi or dreamed of doing so here is a book for you.  324 pages graced with 335 color illustrations take you on an unhurried, personal tour of this famous place.  Commentary by noted art historian Malafarina who has written extensively on Italian art enriches your experience.  Words are inadequate to describe the art works housed in the Basilica - they are all treasures by some of the greatest artists of the 13th and 14th centuries, including Giotto and Cimabue.  It is a revelation in this book to view details of their works of art which are often overlooked when seen while in  a crowd of people.  Suffice it to say this is a volume to be perused at your leisure and enjoyed again and again.

As you may know the Basilica was begun in 1228 and is built in the side of a hill.  It is made up of two churches known as the Upper Church and the Lower Church and a crypt holding the remains of St. Francis who was born and died in Assisi.  The Upper Church is perhaps best known for a sequence of enormous frescoes that celebrate the life and teachings os St. Francis - but, see for yourself in this glorious volume.

The Lower Church has been expanded over the years by the addition of several chapels honoring other saints.  There may be found magnificent works of art, including those by Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti.

Also the mother church of the Franciscan order of monks the Basilica is one of the most significant places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy.  How fortunate we are to be able to visit or revisit via this beautiful volume.

- Gail Cooke

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