CHRIST walked the earth as a human being; yet for 13 centuries thereafter he was painted as a weightless, spiritual being, more in his divine aspect than in his human one. Then Giotto di Bondone, a Tuscan farmer's boy, broke the spell. He changed the course of art by proving that spirit and flesh, holiness and reality, could be pictured together as one image.

Sadly enough, many of Giotto's paintings have been lost or mutilated. Some have been plastered over; others "improved" by latter-day restorers. But last week a few were being rediscovered in Florence. An inner wall of the Badia church...

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