19 AUGUST 1989, Page 23

Giotto, lover of tenderness, you were The first great painter

who showed man as man, Not icon or pure spirit but entire, For through the flesh the best compassion ran.

You taught this when you painted Joachim And Anna, Mary's parents, standing with Their faces close and intimate. In him Was gratitude, in her, surrender. Death You also knew was glad surrendering Without a dread. So God himself was laid Gently in his tomb, all suffering Wiped from his face. You understood men prayed And found right peace when they could speak and sing As Francis did for whom the birds delayed.

Elizabeth Jennings