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St. Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata

This artwork was found in a church in Pisa, Italy (famous for it's leaning tower of Pisa). The 1st picture shows St. Francis receiving Stigmata (wounds of Christ appear on him). The second picture shows St. Francis holding a collapsing church, 3rd one - the Pope announcing the creation of the Franciscan order and the last one shows Saint Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds (because he loved all living creatures, also, many different species of birds are depicted). The figure of Christ still looks very much like images of him in the Byzantine tradition of art (inexpressive, frontal figures), but Francis has a lot of emotion in his face - he looks very human and close to us. 

Stigmata - St. Francis was praying and fasting for 40 days in the mountains. Then he saw Christ as a six-winged angel. He was awed, immediately knelled and raised his arms in surrender. When his vision ended he felt great pain and discovered that he was given the Stigmata (wounds in feet and hands where Christ was crucified). 

In the paintings you can see a start of awareness of perspective (it was quite non-existent in the earlier Middle Ages). A gold background was common for religious paintings of the time because god represented the divine light. The light source in this painting is the Christ himself, it is divided into the earthly and the heavenly realms. Francis' face is depicted using the chiaroscuro technique - rapid transition from light to dark. The artist was famous and was revered for his ability to paint realistic emotion.

This work was looted in 1813 by the Napoleon's troops.