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Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata is a painting illustrating Saint John the Baptist in the wilderness. The painting illustrates Saint Francis on his knees ready to receive the stigmata. The location is Mount Alverna which was a small distance from his monastery. His hands are on each side of the triptych appearing like wings. The wings of each triptych are joined to form a small altarpiece. In accordance to their subject matter, the two wings may be taken to symbolize a Crucifixion or a Lamentation.
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The story begins when Saint Francis became converted and publicly declared his commitment to the gospel. This was during the lent of 1224. Francis' life and attitude started to change surprisingly. As time elapsed, he became obsessed with the facts about the deep spiritual union with God. As a result of this, St. Francis eventually received the Stigmata. Prior to this, he had spent numerous hours meditating about the suffering of Christ and his obedience to his Father. He went as far as retreating into the wilderness with Friar Leo. Francis frequently got grief-stricken over the immense pain and suffering that Jesus underwent. He also took time to thank the Lord for the ultimate sacrifice that He had to undergo. On 14 September 1224, while in solitude on Mount Alverna, he witnessed Jesus Christ borne up by wings. In this moment, Francis received identical marks on his hands, feet and side to those of his Lord's crucifixion. This is what was referred to as the stigmata. This was Christ's way of refurbishing the marks of His passion. The main objective was to rekindle man's love for God. By bearing these, Francis experienced deeper union with Jesus. Thus, through this God brought Francis to perfect conformity Jesus Christ.
The triptych is small and portable. It was without a doubt made by an individual who was disciplined and had personal devotion in doing his work. The consecrated Virgin and Child are in the company of Saints Helena and Peter to the left while Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Paul border her to the right. An image of St. Francis of Assisi is displayed as he was receiving the stigmata. These were the same marks that Jesus acquired while on the cross during the crucifixion. On the right wing is a view of the Crucifixion. This is together with a picture of St. John the Evangelist as well as the mourning Virgin.
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Bernardo Daddi was the first artist who fully articulated the sculptural sturdiness of the human outward appearance. His work was greatly influenced by Giotto as well as the Sienese school. This was evident in his work where he used lines with a lyrical sense also the use of subtle tonal variation. The Triptych's center panel is gabled. The wings come together to create the illusion of a gable. The next image is that of Madonna and Child. This image is surrounded by images of Paul, Helena Peter and Catherine. Francis is also a key image in the Triptych. He symbolizes the miracles and the stigmatization he underwent when he chose to retreat to the mountain in order to focus on prayer. The art work also represents the Annunciation. Here, Mary is reading when an Angel visits to announce the birth of Jesus. There is also an image of Jesus after being crucified with Mary and John the Evangelist standing at the foot of the cross looking up to the dead Messiah. The Central panel holds a picture of Madonna holding a child enthroned. The child is standing on his mother's knees facing her while extending his arms towards her. The virgin mother is looking at him with a reluctant smile. She is wearing a blue mantle with a red lining. The mantle has been worn over a dark red gown. The back of throne has a scarlet floor with the walls ornamented with slender arabesques. St. Helen and St. Peter are standing towards the left side of the throne while St. Catherine and St. Paul are standing to the right. Their robes are colored Rose, ivory, mauve, dull green and gold. The background is gold leaf in color.
The image of St. Francis dressed in a dull mauve robe receiving the stigmata is also present. The angel's drapery is painted scarlet with most of the background being colored gold. The right wing represents the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mary, standing at the foot of the cross is dressed in black. The black robe painted against scarlet background creates a beautiful contrast. The throne is decorated with decorative motifs and pictures of an angel. The angel is dressed in a diaphanous rose cloth painted against a gold leaf background with panels bordered with carved motif to improve the general appearance. The general appearance of the throne is filled with chiseled decorations adorned with a brilliant gold background. This makes the colors look fresh to observers despite the age of the art piece. In addition to this, the tip of the throne is canopy shaped.
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The artwork is done using paint using tempera and gold ground on poplar panel. The piece was created in the continent of Europe in Italy at a place known as Florence and Empoli. The paintings were done to blend in with the European culture as was practiced in Italy in the 14th century. The size of the art piece is estimated to be; 23 3/8 x 19 15/16 x 1 7/8 inches, 23 3/8 x 10 x 1 7/8 inches, (center panel) 18 11/16 x 5 x 7/8 inches, (right panel) and finally the left panel 18 9/16 x 4 15/16 x 7/8 inches.
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