Crucifixion

Andrea Del Castano, Crucifixion, 1450

It seems like every painter has his own version of the crucifixion, but honestly I cannot blame them because it’s one of the most important scenes in the Bible. As stated in New Testament (shortly after the Last Supper), Jesus and the twelve apostles were captured by Roman soldiers and taken to court to be testified by the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate. Jesus was accused of claiming to be the “King of the Jews” and was dressed up in a purple robe and a crown of thorns. As he bled, he was spat on by other soldiers and furthermore humiliated.

Upon reaching Golgotha (Calvary), the Roman soldiers stripped Jesus, dividing his possessions among themselves. He was then crucified at the ninth hour (believed to be around 9 a.m.) and stood upon the cross for six hours. Jesus was crucified along with two thieves, one of whom embraced God.

This painting is one of Castagno’s few oil paintings. Castagno’s crucifixion is exquisite. The emotions of Jesus and the two thieves stress pain to the viewer who almost mimic their faces, while also staring upon Jesus’s lifeless face. The aura of the painting is clearly dark and negative as the clouds are a deep dark shade of grey. The only bright color is the red that streaks below the wounds of Jesus and the dresses of Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene.

It seems as if every time I write about another story of the Bible, I come back to the same point. The people in these stories exhibit a holy kindness which cannot be seen in today’s world. Jesus forgives the men who spat upon him and forced him to walk while being impaled by a crown of thorns. He yearns for his father to forgive all these people who murdered him for speaking his mind. 


  • 7:00 AM

The Mystic Nativity

Sandro Botticelli, The Mystic Nativity, 1500

Oh Botticelli, what exactly have you crafted for us here...?

In The Mystic Nativity, the angels and men celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Locals joyfully embrace one another, while twelve angels dance from the heavens and the others join in the Shepherds' festivities of praise.  In the center resides the Holy Family, which Botticelli illustrates as slightly larger than the surrounding figures to emphasize the significance of this holy day. Like many of Botticelli's other works, the painting encompasses emotion in the characters actions, perspective, and liveliness in the array of colors as demonstrated in the landscape and in their clothing. Moreover, the artist utilizes the proportions of the scene to create depth and harmony through its symmetry. 

However, unlike Primavera or Birth of Venus, which are acknowledged for their elegance and sharpness, this work has been renown for its mysterious symbolism. As Botticelli becomes far more independent from the Medici family, the talented painter takes a liking to friar Girolamo Savonarola. Under the sway of Savonarola, who calls for Christian renewal and reformation of the Italian government in preparation for a "biblical flood" when he declares Florence the New Jerusalem, Botticelli's character darkens. More than anything, Botticelli essentially has a religious freak-out, and emulates that obsession in the text at the top of the painting. 

The inscription translates as: "This picture, at the end of the year 1500, in the troubles of Italy, I Alessandro, in the half-time after the time, painted, according to the eleventh chapter of Saint John, in the second woe of the Apocalypse, during the release of the devil for three-and-a-half years; then he shall be bound in the twelfth chatter and we shall see him buried as in this picture".

Pretty intense, huh? 

As religious and political upheavals overflow in Florence,  Botticelli assembles this piece of work to combine Christ's birth with the ideas of Christ's Millennium, as promised in the Book of Revelation. Botticelli juxtaposes the spirit of this painting to his disclaimer in an attempt to portray the preachings of his mentor and fight the oppression of his religious beliefs after the friar's execution. Despite Botticelli's outreaches to revitalize Savonarola's prophecies, The Mystic Nativity initially prevails the end of Botticelli's career as an outstanding artist. After 1500, Botticelli becomes less invested in painting and eventually dies, a decrepit, worn-down man in 1515.

  • 7:00 AM

Saint Augustine Reading Rhetoric in Rome

Benozzo Gozzoli, St. Augustine Reading Rhetoric in Rome, 1464

Benozzo Gozzoli's uniqueness stems mostly from his absurd yet flowing depictions of nature. His affinity for the Earth was unparalleled, crowding his art with trees, rocks, and animals. However, what do we end up with when all but the latter remains absent from his paintings?

Of course, that's not entirely true. Gozzoli sneaks in windows in the back to draw some buildings and a single tree. Yet, Gozzoli has no choice to divert from his adoration of topiary to focus on the primary subject of this painting. St. Augustine teaches rhetoric to his students gathered around below him. Some are enthralled, others are not. It's your typical classroom, with all but the exception of the presence of a small dog.

Amusingly, the tiny pup diverts most of the attention to itself, rather than St. Augustine, who we should be focusing on. The dog's position, being squarely in front of St. Augustine and settled comfortably in the middle, acts as the core of the picture. Does it ruin the painting? Maybe. True, we lose ourselves in the oddness of the dog's appearance rather than seeing the painting for what it is: Saint Augustine teaching rhetoric in Rome. Nonetheless, the painting remains pleasant. In fact, the dog only strengthens the shape of the painting, a neat triangle leading from St. Augustine down to his students.

Some could speculate about the dog's meaning. Loyalty, innocence, or any by the book canine symbolism could be fair game.

Or, alternatively, Gozzoli could have simply wanted to paint a cute dog, because that's what Gozzoli does.

  • 7:00 AM

Portrait of a Young Man

Masaccio, Portrait of a Young Man,  1423-1424

Portrait of a Young Man by Masaccio was painting in 1423-1425. The portrait is of a wealthy young man who is unknown. He is fashionably dressed and he is wearing headgear or a cloth around his head. The chaperon he is wearing shows the audience looking at the painting an accurate sense of facial detail and physical appearance. The lines in the headgear and strong and marked well, the expression on his face is serious. 

In this painting we see Masaccio's use of three-dimensionality in the turban that the young man is wearing. The turban makes the painting stand out, because without it this painting would be flat. The neutral background highlights the turban. There are no other folds and creasing in the painting other than the hat. The man's eyes stand out more than any other facial features. The shadowing brings our eyes to focus on them. 


  • 7:00 AM

Portrait of a Young Girl

Ghirlandaio, Portrait of a Young Girl, 1490

Domenico Ghirlandaio, while not always an exceptional artist, loved to paint and to make people happy. He is said to have accepted every project that came to him in his workshop. He made an effort to complete all works by himself and rarely used the help of his apprentices, one of whom was Michelangelo.


This painting, Portrait of a Young Girl, was painted in 1490 not for a chapel or a famous family but for this young girl. He knew he would not become famous over a work like this, but did not care for fame but instead to please his customers.

Domenico Ghirlandaio was born Domenico di Tommaso di Currado di Doffo Bigordi. Him and his brothers changed their names to Ghirlandaio when they became famous for making hair garlands for young Florentine girls. Ghirlandaio is an adaptation of garland-maker in Italian. This young Florentine girl is wearing one of these hair garlands.

  • 7:00 AM

San Giovenale Triptych



Masaccio, San Giovenale Triptych, 1422

Masaccio was the best painter in his generation.  Masaccio was skilled in creating life-like figures and movements. Also, he had a great sense of three-demensionality.
San Giovenale Triptych by Masaccio was painted in 1422. He finished it around the age of 20. It was discovered in the church of San Giovenale at Cascia di Reggello, which is near to the hometown of Masaccio. This painting represents the Virgin and Child with angels in the panel in the center. On the left panel are Saints Bartholomew and Blaise. On the right panel are Saints Juvenal and Anthony Abbot. The two angels at the bottom, near the Virgin, have their feet turned inwards. The angels are turned towards her, while the angel on the left gesturing with arms open and the angel on the right is praying.  

Christ is depicted as a infant in this painting. He is holding grapes in his left hand and eating them in his right hand. This is a reference to the Eucharist. At the bottom of Mary's throne used to be a inscription. The inscription read "Ave Maria Dominus Tecum Benedicta."

  • 7:00 AM

Martelli Annunciation

Filippo Lippi, Martelli Annunciation, 1440

With perspective like that, it must be Filippo.

Painted for the Medici church of San Lorenzo, the Martelli Annunciation has been noted as Lippi's most satisfying piece of work. Symbolizing Filippo's ability to be both innovative and derivative, Lippi created one of the first square altarpieces, split down the middle, featuring Brunelleschi-inspired architecture with it's lack of traditional gothic embellishments. 

Filippo is also no stranger to the ways of the Flemish. The small vase at the bottom, called an Ampulla, shows up in many paintings from the Netherlands.

Finding a piece that represented Filippo Lippi was extremely difficult for there's much controversy over which works he actually painted himself. Commissioned by the Medicis, Filippo made a pretty heavy salary, allowing him to hire assistants to counterfeit his own work.

I truly believe this to be his true work for there is a crispness to the lines, vibrance to the colors and a softness in the facial expressions. There's not so much a blatant horror to Mary's face, rather a understanding acceptance with her arm extended as if to say, "You know what? I'm chill." The two angels, I assume to be waiting outside in case Mary loses her head and needs subduing, also have quite lax expressions. The one further back looks down at Gabriel indicating "the lady is cool," the angel in the front pointing as if to draw attention to the fact that this whole operation is more or less going down without a fight.

I hate conflict. In order to avoid it, oftentimes I'll agree to anything - no matter how insane, and no matter where my own opinion or desire may stand. Whatever creates less tension. However, catering to every whim and want, so as to not be caught in some conflict of interests, has ironically caused a bit of tension of its own due to my reluctance to make a decision. . 

*Sigh* 

At any rate, I chose this annunciation out of all Filippo Lippi's because I felt it represented both Filippo and myself rather perfectly. 

  • 7:00 AM

The Sacrifice of Isaac

Filippo Brunelleschi, The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401

Filippo Brunelleschi's The Sacrifice of Isaac depicts the biblical story of Abraham's test from God. In order to examine the strength of his faith, God put Abraham to the ultimate test and asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac and upon agreeing to do so, angels swoop in to stop the act. Although there are probably a million things wrong with the passage, and I would hope my father would never come this close to ending my life, Brunelleschi portrays the last gasp moment beautifully. I admired his quality craftsmanship that, of course, came from being the goldsmith that he was. However, after further investigation, his piece did not quite cut it. Lorenzo Ghiberti had done it again, beating him in competition, only to further generate the hatred felt for him by Brunelleschi.

Picking himself up from the defeat, Brunelleschi traveled immediately to Rome to study architecture. Judging by his architectural prowess, his change of field was very successful and yes, he managed to succeed in revenge as well. What else do you do when your sworn enemy works for you? Let him screw up of course, because Brunelleschi could clearly do it better, as he showed time and time again and ultimately embarrassed Ghiberti during their work with the Florence Cathedral.
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The Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, 1495-1497

The Last Supper characterizes da Vinci’s style and conduct as an artist. When commissioned to paint for churches or personal homes, Leonardo went days or even weeks without putting anything on canvas because he had to think about his work. This deep thought proved one of his greatest weaknesses as an artist. His boundless imagination prevented him from finishing works, because he had too many ideas to make a cohesive image that met his standards. Leonardo never finished Jesus’ face, because he did not believe that he could properly capture the messiah’s grace. Unable to find inspiration for the face of Judas, da Vinci modeled him after the patron church’s prior, who castigated Leonardo for taking too much time to think about the work. Da Vinci believed that the prior exemplified the treachery of Jesus’ apostate.

Leonardo’s attention to detail and individuality among subjects reach an apex in this work, as each apostle’s face captures love, fear, sorrow, and confusion concerning Jesus’ upcoming betrayal. Da Vinci used The Last Supper as an opportunity for experimentation. He examined optics and geometry in addition to dynamics, best exhibited through communication between subjects. Motion, expression, and complexity set The Last Supper apart as a masterpiece of da Vinci, worthy of examination by students of art. Leonardo also experimented with methods of preservation, which obviously proved unsuccessful. Although The Last Supper lost its original vibrancy after centuries of deterioration, it still garners praise for its detail and optical innovation.

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Delivery of the Keys

Perugino, Delivery of the Keys, 1481

Pietro Perugino's Delivery of the Keys is one of his most well-known works commissioned by Pope Sixtus and painted in 1481. It is located in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The fresco represents the story from Matthew 16 where Christ gives the keys to heaven to Saint Peter. The people in the background represent two biblical stories of Christ. Tribute Money and The Stoning of Christ.

The composition of this painting is beautifully done. It is almost perfectly symmetrical and has a strong use of perspective. Two vertical lines from the bottom left and right corners meet at the vanishing point at the door of the middle building. Perugino also uses a slight aerial view, which makes the hills appear to fade into a never-ending horizon. The slim-feathered trees and hills are Umbrian influenced, and the style of the figures in the painting is adopted from Verocchio. The figures are elegant and calm but tightly clumped in rows at the front of the painting. The faces are very realistic and full of emotion, however the heads are slightly small in proportion. Perugino uses Da Vinci's sfumata to make his characters hands appear less rigid.

I loved this piece for its beautifully vibrant and detailed composition and lively characters. The motion leads your eye around the painting from the scenes in the background to the engaging figures in the front. You can't help but notice each intricate fold in the robes and realistic shadowing in the faces and necks. The posture and arm gestures make you feel present in the painting. This is overall my favorite piece of Perugino's.

  • 7:00 AM

Primavera

Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, 1478

Absolutely breathtaking. Maybe it's the characters' heartfelt expressions or the painstaking attention to detail in the meadow. But, wait. Where is Christ? Why on earth are there no saints?

Commissioned by the Medici family as a present for their newlywed family members, Sandro Botticelli seizes this moment to break from tradition by creating a large scale mythological scene with Venus as the central figure. Botticelli captures sensuality and fertility in this painting as encompassed in the ornate background and the other figures in the painting. Moreover, legend has it that the Medici family had a orange grove on their property, so Botticelli parallels the oranges to the notion of hopefulness in marriage and the opportunity to produce "fruit" for their family.

However on the right-hand side, Botticelli exhibits tension between Zephyr and Chloris to emphasize the conflict that arouses between marriages as a result of male domination in 15th century culture. According to Greek mythology, Zyphyr, the wind of March, kidnaps the nymph Chloris to marry her. Chloris then becomes the goddess of Spring and eternal bearer of life. Botticelli warns the viewers of the obstacles marriage can bring, as the artist illustrates frail trees and a lack of fruit to parallel to the lack of respect for women and how that may affect their inability to produce "fruit." Botticelli conclusively highlights the recurrence of oranges above the pregnant Flora to re-enforce the notion of respect for women in this dynamic.

Botticelli continues to reference these advanced ideologies throughout Primavera, as demonstrated in the relationships of the Graces, Cupid, and Mercury. Nonetheless he continues to depict emotion, depth, and detail in the figures and their surroundings that seems prevalent in almost all of his work. Most importantly, while this painting breaks from the Renaissance artistic structures and religious definition, Botticelli proves to address this notion of human interaction. Creating an new, abstract representation of beauty through the botanical gardens and Greek figures for the public to reflect on, we see that the lack of religious infliction only benefits Botticelli's status as a renowned and respected artist in the coming centuries.

  • 7:00 AM

Sketch of the Colosseum

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sketch of the Colosseum. 1400s

I know this is not a painting, nor is this Ghirlandaio's most famous work, but it captures what type of artist he was and how he was not an impostor or fake.

It was said that Ghirlandaio was an expert at sketching without a ruler or compass. This is not typical of most painters or artists of this time. He was able to work with just his eyes and did not need to measure his subject. He sketched objects such as columns, birds, amphitheaters, and arches.  These were all studied and found to be perfect in proportion. Sometimes he would even sketch a little person next to his subject so the viewer can see that the proportions were perfectly even.

This sketch of the Colosseum is very impressive. Compared to a picture from now you can see no difference in the location of cracks, archways, and windows. It looks as if he used a ruler or a compass to get the measurements exact, but when you find out he did not, you cannot help yourself from being stunned and amazed.

  • 7:00 AM

Madonna and Child with Two Angels

Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child with Two Angels1465

After escaping slavery by drawing his master's portrait, Filippo Lippi was commissioned by the Medici Family to paint large altarpieces and portraits of fellow clans. Although he was one of the most innovative painters of his time, he allowed much of his work to be greatly influenced by other artists and architects.

In his Madonna and Child with Two Angels (as with all his portraits) Lippi focuses on each persons "individual likeness." Eventually he was paid well enough to hire assistants whom he trained to counterfeit his own work allowing him to keep his myriad vices warm.

And warm his vices he did.

In 1456, he abducted one of the nuns in the Augustian Convent of St. Margherita (where he worked as Chaplain). Lucretia Buti was her name (and yes her last name was Buti) and she bore him two children. One of which went on to also become a painter, taught at the hand of Botticelli, one of Filippo's pupils.

It is believed that Lippi's Mary was done in the likeness of his Lucretia and the angels in the likeness of his children. Another reason why this painting represents Filippo more than any of his others.

Finally, looking at the majority of Filippo's collection, the work doesn't really blow my hair back. There are often hints of genius in each piece, but one can easily tell where he had gotten lazy or his assistants had ad-libbed in portions for him. His Madonna and Child with Two Angels, encompasses every stroke of his genius within every stroke of his brush. The soft, glowing warmth and pureness in Mary's face. And, despite baby Jesus' obvious state of inebriation, the children are portrayed both playfully and realistically; making this a true masterpiece.

  • 7:00 AM

The Gates of Paradise

Lorenzo Ghiberti, Gates of Paradise, 1425-52

There's something to be said for obsession. While never good in a vacuum, certain forms of obsession can help to create monumental things. This sentiment is evidence in Ghiberti's magnus opuses, a pair of gold and bronze doors dubbed by Michelangelo the "Gates of Paradise." Worked on excessively by Ghiberti through two commissions over 25 years, the doors show a meticulousness and attention to detail that is distinctly Ghiberti. While hardly resembling a gate (Michelangelo always did have a problem with distinctions), the so-called Gates of Paradise do indeed live up to a heavenly ideal, with their beautiful gold plates, all realizing scenes from the Bible. Ghiberti expertly crafted almost every part of this masterwork, lending an awesome amount of detail to each panel. Each face is emotive and relevant, even his own.

While Ghiberti's first work with the church through statue commissions and contests showed hints to the kind of intricate creations he was capable of, these doors stand as the most prominent and perfect presentation of his prowess as an artist.

  • 7:00 AM

Flagellation

Piero Della Francesca, Flagellation, 1448

Piero Della Francesca never got the credit he deserved. Much of his work was either destroyed or lost. After his death, many of his papers were stolen and published under the name of his student, Fra Luca dal Borgo. Yet, through the work that survives, it is clear he was a genius. Flagellation, painted in 1448, incorporated Piero's mathematical expertise in his use of perspective. His use of vanishing points to show distance was a totally new, innovative concept. While other artists were painting flat, stage-like artwork, Piero managed to add perspective and detail while still maintaining a calm monumental style,

This version of Flagellation is unique, mainly due to the position of Jesus. While he is front and center in the other versions, Piero paints him into the background. The subject of the painting seems to be the three men in the front, not Jesus. Art historians differ on their interpretations of this. Some say the front three are the duke or Urbino and his assassins, while others claim that it's the Byzantines and the Ottoman Turks. I personally think its meaning is religious, but it widens the focus of the painting to include the bystanders who sat passive while Christ suffered. If it looks like Jesus, it's probably Jesus.

  • 7:00 AM

Embryo in Womb

Leonardo da Vinci, Embryo in Womb, 1512

Leonardo da Vinci receives excessive praise for his work as a painter. The Louvre, home to some of the world’s finest classical paintings, dedicates an entire room to the diminutive Mona Lisa, and millions flock to it every year. Although da Vinci possessed natural artistic ability and an artistic eye, he revealed his preeminent talent as a student of science, not a portrait painter, through his journals on anatomy and nature.

Leonardo combined art and science by sketching his inventions and observations. He refused to accept secondhand accounts of nature and took an experiential approach, including working with cadavers, to observe muscle and bone structure. Da Vinci did not conduct these studies for medical or philosophical purposes. He had no interest in why birds take to the air or the connection between flight and soul; he simply wanted to discover how countless parts collaborate to form a working system.

Centuries ago, Leonardo sketched an embryo with accuracy commensurate with modern medical textbooks. One of thousands by da Vinci, this illustration showcases the delicacy and detail for which Leonardo gained fame. He transferred his knowledge of the human form to his paintings, but this sketch, found in one of his numerous journals, was created to aid understanding, not to be a masterpiece. Regardless of intention, so-called Embryo in Womb captures Leonardo’s facility and overlooked range of work.


  • 7:00 AM

Journey of the Magi

Benozzo Gozzoli, Journey of the Magi1459

The acme of Benozzo Gozzoli’s career, the Journey of the Magi serves as the accumulation of all of Gozzoli’s skills and admirations.

Gozzoli, pupil of Fra Angelico, is often overlooked in the assemblage of Renaissance artists. Little is known about Gozzoli, past his student-mentor relationship with Angelico. He boasts no awe-inspiring achievements or scandals. Thus, we see Gozzoli only for his art, rather than his life. His style is infamous for changing and many of his pieces fail to match stylistically when compared. However, Gozzoli did retain a style of his own, of which is displayed wholly in the Medici commissioned Journey of the Magi.

Gozzoli, enthralled with nature, featured sloping cliffs, tall trees, and a slew of animals in many of his paintings. The structures of rock are graceful and smooth, simulating drapery rather than stone. The impracticality of his favored painting subjects is imminent in his art, signaling that Gozzoli did not aim for a realistic approach. Rather, the Journey of the Magi is meant to depict the Medici family’s progression and glorify Lorenzo de' Medici, drawing the most attention out of the crowd of people. He sits on a white horse with adorned clothing, symbolizing one of three Magi traveling to visit the Christ child. Gozzoli gratuitously paints himself concealed in the crowd, recognizable by his gaze.

  • 7:00 AM

The Last Supper

 Andrea Del Castagno, The Last Supper,1445-1450

During his time, Andrea Del Castagno was under appreciated. It 
wasn't until years after his death that the Benedictine Church reexamined his paintings and found the beauty of Castagno’s work as a painter. In particular, Castagno’s Last Supper could be hailed as one of the greatest paintings of its time. As written in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was asked by his followers where he was going to eat for Passover. Jesus told the disciple he was going to eat inside another disciple’s house. So arrangements were made and Jesus sat down with the other disciples at the table. Suddenly, he stopped eating to say “One of you will betray me.” Each disciple came to Jesus to ask if he was going to betray him. Suddenly, every disciple but Judas was told. Judas looked up and retorted to Jesus, “Surely you don’t mean me my lord” to which Jesus replied, “You have said so.”

The powerful image of Christ is a prominent subject in religious paintings. Castagno’s painting is unique. The two walls on either side are not parallel to each other and neither are the floor and the ceiling. Also, instead of the usual empty side of the table portrayed by many other painters, Castagno placed Judas directly opposite to Jesus emphasizing his deceit. A The Last Supper, though his walls weren't parallel, almost everything else in the painting is geometrically arranged. The strange block-like paintings/tiles in the background are all parallel to each other.

Growing up in a Hindu household, I never had the inclination to read excerpts from the Bible (let alone the actual book). However, reading it this year, I find there are many takeaways that help with life in general. For example, Jesus knows Judas will betray him, but allows him to continue on with his life (and even is friendly towards him). Judas, despite knowing that Jesus knows, still betrays him, and Jesus still goes up onto the cross and forgives everybody who did wrong to him.

  • 7:00 AM

Lamentation of Christ

              
Giotto, Lamentation of Christ, 1305

“Oh Lord, what have I done?” thinks the bottom-right angel. God knows what else the other angels are thinking. Only the omnipotent Giotto could infuse so much emotion into a single piece.

The betrayal of Judas. That is where the final saga begins. He gives Pontius Pilate the location of Jesus in exchange for a number of silver coins. Pilate tries Jesus in his court and finds him innocent,
but the public masses want him dead, shouting “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Mathias
27:25) bringing on the blood curse.

Jesus then begins his infamous march with his wooden death bed. His mother Mary weeps for him as he hefts the cross over his shoulder and up the hill. Jesus permits himself to get nailed to the cross, all the while his disciples cry for him. He then slowly dies, his life force fading away. The image Giotto transcribes to the canvas portrays after his death and Mary cradling his body in her arms.

A day of great sorrow is upon us. The beloved Jesus has lived for us, suffered for us, and died for us. I doubt anyone else could be more of a man than he was. No other person could willingly permit
himself to get nailed to a cross and crucified for another man. Every Christian could do a thousand acts of kindness and never repay what Jesus did for all of them. This speaks strongly to me as a Catholic but also as a non-orthodox Catholic. I choose not to preach all about Jesus, shoving him down other people’s throats. I rather live with Jesus internally, fulfilling his teachings in my everyday life.
  • 7:00 AM

Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata

Giotto, St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, 1295

Many aspects of this painting may be perceived as odd to the viewer, whether it be Giotto's characteristically small trees or what seems to be a chicken disguise worn be Jesus. Regardless of these oddities (or tiny trees), Giotto's Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata, provides a history of Saint Francis. This history covers the foundation of his order under the Pope's approval to his typical preaching to the birds, as he was known for his connection to nature and animals. Saint Francis will always be a major figure in the church.

Saint Francis represented more than strong faith. He lived a lifestyle of giving and this became a model for many. After slightly humiliating his father publicly and leaving behind his belongings and  all opportunities to achieve monetary wealth, Francis set out for wealth of another type. Saint Francis set out to find true faith and help others, and for this and his significance to the church, he is such a reoccurring figure in Renaissance art.
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