Devil's face revealed in Giotto fresco in Italy

image captionThe devil's face is tucked away in one corner of a block of swirling clouds

A devil's face hidden for centuries has been revealed in a fresco by the Italian renaissance master Giotto.

An Italian art historian, Chiara Frugoni, spotted the devil's profile in the fresco's clouds, high up in the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi.

The face, with hooked nose and an evil smirk, is hard to see from the ground.

The fresco, featuring the death of St Francis, dates from the 13th Century. Giotto di Bondone is seen as one of the finest Early Renaissance artists.

Ms Frugoni said it was previously thought the first artist to conceal a portrait in clouds was Andrea Mantegna, in the 15th Century. His painting of St Sebastian, done in 1460, has a cloud from which a mysterious knight appears.

The Assisi basilica was last restored after suffering severe damage in an earthquake in 1997.

The basilica's chief restorer, Sergio Fusetti, said the devil image may have been a joke by Giotto aimed at somebody he had quarrelled with.

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