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Saint Francis in Glory, after 1504

Artist: Workshop of Filippino Lippi, Italian (Florentine School), 1457-1504

Medium: Tempera on wood panel

Painting: 70 1/2 x 58 1/2 in. (179.1 x 148.6 cm)
Frame: 83 1/2 x 71 3/4 in. (212.1 x 182.2 cm)

Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Object Number: 61.190

On View

Stefano Bardini (1854-1922), Florence; Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi (1878-1955), Rome-Florence, March 4, 1932; Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955), New York, New York, 1939; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1952 [deaccessioned]; Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York, New York, 1961

Filippino Lippi began his studies with his painter father Fra Filippo Lippi and was apprenticed to Botticelli.  His leaner and less volumetric figural style displays an emotional intensity foreshadowing sixteenth-century mannerism. Currently attributed to Filippino and his assistants, St. Francis in Glory has also been associated with the artist's collaborator, the Master of Tavernelle  (Niccolò Zoccolo).


 

Here, St. Francis of Assisi, thirteenth-century founder of the Franciscan Order, is elevated to glory, an unusual depiction of the humble saint who is traditionally shown receiving his stigmata, the wounds of Christ that he miraculously acquired because of his dedication to a life of humility and poverty.  He is surrounded by an aureole of seraphim whose sweet faces are similar to those found in other paintings by Filippino. St. Francis holds a scroll inscribed "Come my children, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord."  Kneeling on either side of the central figure are two patron saints of the Order:  St. Louis IX, King of France, in sumptuous robes decorated with the Fleur-de-lis symbol of the French Monarchy; and St. Elizabeth of Hungary who is identified by the apron of roses representing her generosity to the poor.  The remaining figures are a man and wife, early devotees of St. Francis who maintained their secular lives.