About This Artwork

Peter Paul Rubens
Flemish, 1577-1640

Saint Francis, c. 1615

Oil on panel
43 1/4 x 31 in. (99 x 78.8 cm)

George F. Harding Collection, 1983.372

The preaching and teaching activities of the reformed religious orders, including the Franciscans, were important for the resurgence of the Catholic Church in the souther Netherlands following years of religious and political turmoil in the 16th century. Peter Paul Rubens painted numerous images of the founder of the Franciscans, Saint Francis of Assisi. They emphasize his ecstatic piety, most vividly represented in the episode of his stigmatization, when he received the marks of Christ's Passion. In this simpler, portraitlike image, Rubens conveyed the saint's spirituality through his inward gaze and gesture of meditation.

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