Monday, October 3, 2016

Stigmata of St Francis

St Francis at the moment of receiving stigmata
The Stigmata of St Francis – Bartolomeo Della Gatta, c. 1487

Cool owl imagery in this 186 cm x 162 cm tempera on wood painting. The owl is looking away from the transcendent moment as St Francis gets zapped by the floating apparition of Christ on the cross. There is something so trippy about this painting. I mean, there are thin little laser beams shooting off a glowing crucified Jesus. And what is that red blob at the base of the floating cross? It looks like the Talaria, the winged sandals of the Greek messenger god Hermes (just a guess).

St Francis was the patron saint of animals, and depictions of him are often full of animals, yet this owl seems to be the only animal featured prominently. There are two horses in the background.

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A barn owl averts its gaze form the sacred moment
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3 comments:

eattherich said...

That red bit must be a creative way of depicting
the combined Christ-seraph being that´s part of this vision.
And it seems in most representations it´s more evident, with six
wings painted on the christ on the cross figure.
Seraphs are "fiery with passion for God"(Isiah) and hence red I guess.
They are also described as, ahem... serpents (Book of Enoch).
The other monk is Leo follower of st F´s.

(all according to the www, not me. But what´s that cut down tree?).

eattherich said...

(Don´t know about the owl. The bible shares the info, though, you shouldn´t
eat them, they´re detestable. Good to know if you get a hankering.)

Anonymous said...

The 'laser beams' is a visual representation of Jesus giving the stigmata to St. Francis. Each point of the 'laser beam' pierce St. Francis at each spot of the stigmata.

Red blob... an angel. A messenger.

I would like to know why the owl is not watching St. Francis receiving the stigmata.