Saint Francis in Prayer

Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598-1664)
c. 1638-1639
Oil on canvas 
46-1/4 x 35-1/2 in. (117.5 x 90.2 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View

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.


Probably King Louis Philippe, the Spanish Gallery (sale, London, Christie’s, 6-21 May 1853, lot 52, to);
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.

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