St. Francis of Assisi, a mystic and poet, was also the founder of the Franciscans, an important mendicant order. Zurbarán portrayed the saint in his later years, which Francis devoted to meditating on the suffering of the crucified Christ. The artist's tight focus on the figure is in keeping with Counter-Reformation aesthetics as defined by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who prescribed directness and realism in the representation of religious subjects. Though the figure is modeled with strong chiaroscuro, the variations of ocher tones and distant landscape mellow the intensity of the saint's concentration.
- Artist Name: Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598-1664)
- Title: Saint Francis in Prayer
- Date: c. 1638-1639
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 46-1/4 x 35-1/2 in. (117.5 x 90.2 cm)
- Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number: F.1975.03.P
- Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation
E. Clarence Shepard, by 1864.
Jameson, by descent to;
Anonymous [Mrs. S. D. Young-Jamieson] sale, (Sotheby’s, London, 3 November 1971, lot 19, for £1050 to);
[B. Cohen of Trafalgar Galleries, London, on behalf of ARTEX, International, S.A.S., London, sold 1975 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.
- London, British Institution, 1864 to
David Hockney, Secret Knowledge: Retracing Six Centuries of Western Art, p. 178, 179 (detail)
Various authors, edited by Mark Rogián, Spanish Art in America, p. 192 ; p. 190 (ill.)
Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, p. 48
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 1134 p. 375
Frati, T.; and M. Gregori, L'opera completa di Zurbaran, no. 346 p. 111
Young, Eric, The Burlington Magazine, fig. 1 p. 247
Gállego, Julián and José Gudiol, Zurbaran 1598-1664: Biography and Critical Analysis, no. 472, fig. 424
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