“Stigmatization of St. Francis”, Giotto di Bondone – description of the painting

"“Stigmatization of St. Francis”, Giotto di Bondone – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Stigmatization of St. Francis – Giotto di Bondone. 1300. Wood board, tempera. Three hundred fourteen x 100 sixty two cm.
The theme of stigmatization of St. Francis of Assisi has been repeated more than once in the works of Giotto. According to legend, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord the saint prayed fervently, after which a fiery six-winged seraph appeared to him, in which was the image of the crucified Christ. The saint felt sacred ecstasy together with severe pain in his arms, legs and body. Looking around them, he saw large nails piercing his body, and trickles of flowing blood – all precisely because Jesus had been crucified.

By his great desire and passionate prayer, Francis was granted mercy to feel the torment experienced by Jesus on the cross. He said to the brethren that after the death, the Lord allowed him to come to purgatory on the date of his own departure from life and take from there the souls of his own brothers and other faithful people.

The painting captures the moment the saints received the stigmata – signs of his deepest faith. Saint Francis is depicted kneeling, in the poor brown cassock of his own beggarly order, belted with an ordinary rope. The seraph, who immediately appears and is the image of the crucified Jesus Christ, soars above him. The finest golden rays emanate from the miraculous phenomenon, which pierce the body of Francis, creating stigmata on it.

Behind the back of the saint is the highest mountain of Alverno with several trees growing on it, as well as the small stone cells of his monastery. He is kneeling on a naked mountain, and the whole composition is built on diagonal lines to give a little dynamic to a static scene. Francis’ raised hands, six-winged red seraph and the general golden palette of images give the picture solemnity, brightness and festivity.

On the altar icon intended for the church of St. Francesco in Pisa, with a signature, there are images of 2 emblems of aristocratic families, of course, customers of the work, and a predella with 3 scenes from the life of the saint."

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