St. Francis: Sermon to the Birds

Giotto (and others), Sermon to the Birds, c. 1300

Is St. Francis the most pagan of the Catholic saints? This is my favorite from Giotto's great series of 28 frescoes in the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, in the Tuscan hill town of Assisi. Francis treats the birds as sentient beings, with souls. That's pretty cool. I hope that after he delivered his homily he took time to hear what his feathered parishioners had to say as well. I bet he did.

I viewed this in the 80s, but a major earthquake severely damaged the Basilica in 1997. Not sure if this fresco survived.


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