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Italian restorer Sergio Fusetti looks at frescoes he believes were the work of Giotto. Photograph: Pietro Crocchioni/EPA

Art restorers working on frescoes in a forgotten chapel in Assisi believe they have stumbled across proof that stunning images found under layers of grime are the work of medieval artist Giotto.

The discovery of the artist’s initials on the frescoes follows two years of restoration work in the Chapel of St Nicholas in the lower basilica of Saint Francis. The work was prompted by a 1997 earthquake that damaged the basilica.

Experts have argued that the frescoes in the chapel, which has been closed to the public and neglected for years, were at best the work of Giotto’s followers in the 14th century.

But restorers claim the letters GB – standing for Giotto di Bondone, his full name – prove the cleaned-up images were his.


Tom Kington