Friday, March 30, 2012

Saint Francis of Assisi

Riposa in Pace (Rest in Peace)
Many people see graveyards primarily, or only, as the final spot on earth where there closest are buried memorials, or as a constant memento mori. Walking through a graveyard can be an education in art, history, and religion. St. Francis of Assisi is a favorite saint for many. St. Francis is often pictured with birds, or other animals. He is sometimes pictured with a skull as in the El Grecos', and the Zurbarans' masterpieces. The skull, as in Hamlet, appears as a contemplation upon death; it is also a symbol of triumph over death. The contemplation is often with a crucifix/cross, and the Bible/book. This was a favorite Baroque portrayal. In the bas relief, supra, all three are there with him, as is infra.
El Greco. St Francis in Prayer before the Crucifix. c.1587. Bilbao.

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