Giotto Devil Found Hidden In 13th-Century Fresco's Cloud

This photo released by the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, shows a fresco painted by Giotto in the famed basilica, where an art historian has spied a horned devil hidden in the frescoed clouds.  (AP Photo/Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi)

A Giotto devil, hidden for eight centuries, has been discovered by an art historian in the clouds of a work in the Assisi basilica.

"It's very visible," Chiara Frugoni told The Associated Press. "One sees what you already know. I assure you that now all will see it," she said.

Frugoni had spent 30 years studying Giotto's 13th-century frescoes in the upper level of the Umbrian church, but only recently spotted the devil, hidden in a cloud near an angel in a fresco depicting the death of St. Francis of Assisi, painted in 1289.

Giotto was an artist from Florence known for his groundbreaking narrative and figurative styles, according to the AP.

The Rev. Enzo Fortunato told the AP that in medieval times it was believed that when someone died, an angel appeared to take the just to heaven, and a devil to bring the sinners to hell. Giotto's devil predates by two centuries a technique attributed to Andrea Mantegna. One of his paintings shows a knight coming out of a cloud, Fortunato said.

Frugoni reported the finding in an article this month in San Francesco Patrono d'Italia.

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