Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971. First edition. Quarto, original charcoal grey cloth, original dust jacket. Slight creasing to upper front panel of the dust jacket. Nearly-fine. Item #353
"THE FRANCISCAN BASILICA AT ASSISI IS MORE THAN THE SHRINE OF THE MOST BELOVED OF MEDIEVAL SAINTS:
IT IS NO LESS THE CRADLE OF A NEW AND REVOLUTIONARY ART"
First edition of this monograph confronting the "problem of attribution" of the famed fresco-cycle of the Legend of St. Francis in the Upper Church at Assisi. Completed in the thirteenth-century, the artist based his work on St. Bonaventure's Legenda with its theme of St. Francis's Imitation of Christ. Smart upends the 1568 Vasarian attributions to Giotto, asserting that the cycle is actually the work of several artists. The text is preceded by an annotated list of plates and is divided into two sections: Part I. The Legend in the Age of Giotto, a sketch of the early Franciscans, the theology of the cycle, and the development and characteristics of the work of Giotto. Part II. The Legend of St. Francis, is a scene-by-scene study of the three walls around the nave of the church. Part II is followed by an Appendix: The Texts from the Legenda Maior, a Select Bibliography, and an Index. An illustrated supplement, with 110 black-and-white plates, is appended after the text. A new edition was published in 1983 featuring a new preface by Smart.