Sunday, October 5, 2014

St. Francis of Assisi and Giotto

Yesterday, October 4, was the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis is one of the world's favorite saints, and thus has been frequently depicted in works of art. Some of the most famous works of art depicting St. Francis are found in the Upper Church of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. Traditionally, these works were believed be painted by the great 13th century Florentine painter Giotto. Although this belief was questioned in the 20th century, some art historians still maintain the traditional view crediting Giotto for these works.

Wikipedia includes all 28 images from the Upper Church and you may see them here. I'll simply reproduce two here, Saint Francis receiving the stigmata.

And here is the death and ascension of St. Francis.

Lastly, here is the account of St. Francis from an abridged version of Butler's Lives of the Saints:
ST. FRANCIS, the son of a merchant of Assisi, was born in that city in 1182. Chosen by God to be a living manifestation to the world of Christ's poor and suffering life on earth, he was early inspired with a high esteem and burning love of poverty and humiliation. The thought of the Man of Sorrows, Who had not where to lay His head, filled him with holy envy of the poor, and constrained him to renounce the wealth and worldly station which he abhorred. The scorn and hard usage which he met with from his father and townsmen when he appeared among them in the garb of poverty were delightful to him. "Now," he exclaimed, "I can say truly, 'Our Father Who art in heaven.'" But divine love burned in him too mightily not to kindle like desires in other hearts. Many joined themselves to him, and were constituted by Pope Innocent III. into a religious Order, which spread rapidly throughout Christendom. St. Francis, after visiting the East in the vain quest of martyrdom, spent his life like his Divine Master—now in preaching to the multitudes, now amid desert solitudes in fasting and contemplation. During one of these retreats he received on his hands, feet, and side the print of the five bleeding wounds of Jesus. With the cry, "Welcome, sister Death," he passed to the glory of his God October 4, 1226.
Reflection.—"My God and my all," St. Francis’ constant prayer, explains both his poverty and his wealth.