|Photo Credit EPA/Reuters|
The fresco painting depicts the death of St. Francis and is one of the most revered works of art housed at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy. Restorers were brought in to help clean the priceless works of art of years of contamination from smoke, soot and other pollutants that had darkened the once-brilliant colors of paint.
The discovery was made by Chiara Frugoni, an expert on the Renaissance with great knowledge of the beloved St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment. "It's a powerful portrait, with a hooked nose, sunken eyes and two dark horns," Ms. Frugoni told journalists. "The significance of the image still needs to be delved into. In the Middle Ages it was believed that demons lived in the sky and that they could impede the ascension of human souls to Heaven."
The last restoration of the painting took place after a devastating earthquake in 1997 caused part of the ceiling of the Basilica to collapse, killing four people.