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Anonymous (Andean, 18th century)
DIVINE SPLENDOR: SPANISH COLONIAL ART FROM THE COLLECTION OF JAMES LI
Anonymous (Andean, 18th century)

Saint Francis of Assisi

Details
Anonymous (Andean, 18th century)
Saint Francis of Assisi
oil on canvas
62 ¼ x 40 ¼ in. (158 x 102 cm.)
Provenance
Marcelo Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.

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Virgilio Garza
Virgilio Garza

Lot Essay

St. Francis of Assisi was a potent force for a renewed Christianity beginning in the early thirteenth century. Indeed, it was through his many good deeds, miracles and his generous spirit, that Francis truly revitalized the house of the Lord during troubling times. Widely revered, St. Francis has been the subject of countless paintings since the Middle Ages. Artists such as Cimabue, Simone Martini and Giotto di Bondone were engaged to paint various frescoes for the saint’s basilica in Assisi where his remains are interred. Later well-known masterpieces were produced by other European masters such as Giovanni Bellini and Jan van Eyck who rendered the saint within the landscape in communion with nature and God, perhaps alluding to the saint’s preparing to enter the Heavenly Jerusalem. The present lot bears compositional semblance to earlier European versions, but with new world innovations. Here, the Andean artist has brilliantly rendered St. Francis in a monumental fashion—he towers over the landscape which no longer suggests the Umbrian town but an Andean field filled with birds of bright plumage, while a carpet of flowers in dazzling colors, is painted beneath the saint’s shoeless feet. In this formidable composition, St. Francis meditates on the crucified Christ while holding a skull signifying mortality. The artist focuses on the miracle of Saint Francis as he receives the stigmata, while the landscape functions as witness.
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