2400. Faldoni was just 17 when he first began to work for Cimabue as an apprentice. He was certainly used to hard work, being made to hoe and weed the vegetable gardens from a tender age, and to haul bricks and mortal for the masons work as soon as he was able. Although he was willing to work like a donkey and would never complain, still he was a very dense boy and the friars gave up trying to teach him to read and write after a few hopeless sessions.
2401. If one of the friars happened to be talking of
Faldoni he would often rap the top of his head with his knuckles, and
this gesture, in Italian, indicated that the person referred to was
“hard headed” or “capodost” in the southern dialect. It was assumed that
Faldoni was from the south because in Milan, then as now, all the
southerners were thought to be hard headed, slow, and “rounder than the O
2402. Faldoni was so accustomed to being referred to as
hardheaded that he would even rap the top of his head with his knuckles himself with a peculiar sort of pride, to
indicate how thick he was, whenever he was discovered to have done
something especially stupid.
2403. So it was with great reluctance that Faldoni was given the task of assisting the assistants on the murals Cimabue was doing in the church at the time. All of the walls of the great church were to be covered with plaster and then painted in fresco. The entire of life of Christ,was to be recorded, each with its own niche surrounded with geometric borders. Fortunately the first step, the plastering of the walls, was a gigantic task that none wanted to do, nobody but Faldoni that is.