Saint Francis (c.1615)

Rubens, Peter Paul (1577-1640)

Saint Francis
Oil on panel, 99 × 78.8 cm
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago

The Franciscans were among the reformed religious orders whose preaching and teaching activities helped revive the Roman Catholic Church in the Southern Netherlands following years of religious and political turmoil in the 1500s. Peter Paul Rubens here depicted the order’s founder, Saint Francis of Assisi, recognizable by the wound that imitates the pierced hands of the crucified Jesus. In this portrait-like image, which was likely made on commission, Rubens conveyed the saint’s spirituality through his meditative gaze and posture. (AIC)