On February 11, 2023, a presentation was given on the restoration work of the frescoes created by Simone MARTINI inside the San Martino Chapel. The presentation was directed by Sergio FUSETTI and took place in the press room of the Sacred Convent of Assisi. The press room was packed with more than one hundred attendees.
After eight months, the Chapel has been returned to its former glory and can now be visited by pilgrims and tourists. The Chapel was frescoed between 1313 and 1318. It is located in the lower Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.
Those attending the presentation included the Guardian of the Sacred Convent of Assisi, Friar Marco MORONI; the Director of the Historical-Artistic Department of the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the Region of Umbria, Giovanni Luca DELOGU; the Director of the National Gallery of Umbria, Marco PIERINI; and the Chief Restorer, Sergio FUSETTI. At 6:00 p.m. those attending were able to visit the restored chapel and attend a concert featuring medieval songs and music by the Ensemble La Douss’aura.
“With the rededication of the San Martino Chapel,” said Friar Marco MORONI, “a very valuable piece has been added to the restoration of the frescoed walls in the lower basilica, work which has been ongoing for several years […]. Thanks to the expertise of the restorers, and the support of many people and sponsors, we will be able to see the basilica in its full splendor—in time to celebrate the eighth centenary of the death of St. Francis in 2026 […]. Personally, I think the frescoes in this chapel are exceptionally refined. It was an enormous gift to be able to admire them up close during the work; it let me understand the remarkable mastery of Simone MARTINI.”
The Chapel was commissioned by the Franciscan Cardinal Gentile PARTINO DA MONTEFIORE. It tells the life of St. Martin of Tours, which can be read like a frescoed book, following the narrative from bottom to top. In the lower tier are the stories of St. Martin while he was still a layman, beginning with the famous gift of the cloak, a gesture of charity emulated by the young Francis. The middle tier tells the stories of Martin the Bishop and his miracles. The uppermost tier recounts Martin’s death and transitus. Unlike the scenes depicted by Giotto, this cycle has a more fairytale-like character.
Friar Giulio CESAREO