Description In 1226, St. Francis of Assisi had a vision of a seraph (the highest order of angels) with an image of the crucified Christ amid its six wings, from which he miraculously received the stigmata - the wounds inflicted upon Christ during the Crucifixion. El Greco depicts the wounds on Francis's elegant hands, and the saint's transfixed gaze conveys the spiritual impact of the experience. The absence of setting, the brilliance of the apparition, and the elongation of the figure contribute to an other-worldly effect. This is accentuated by the white paint and loose brushstrokes, which suggest rather than define the forms and which the artist learned in Venice before settling in Spain. The effect is magnified by the contrast of what appears to be a real piece of paper, stuck to the canvas and bearing the words "Domenikos Theotokopoulos Made This" in Greek, expressing El Greco's pride in his origins. The miraculous vision was a favorite subject of El Greco's, and he, himself a lay Franciscan, created a quintessential expression of the mystical and emotional spirituality of the contemporary Counter-Reformation movement.
- God's Minstrel: St. Francis of Assisi. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1982.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [no. 351]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] On cartellino, lower right: Domenikos Theotolopoulos e poiei
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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