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Thursday, December 08, 2022

National Gallery to explore the legacy of Saint Francis of Assisi in new exhibition

National Gallery to explore the legacy of Saint Francis of Assisi in new exhibition

An exhibition exploring the life and legacy of Saint Francis of Assisi will open at the National Gallery next spring.

Ant Francis (1182–1226) was a revered religious figure who was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in the 13th century and made Italy’s designated patron saint along with Catherine of Siena.

He was also made the patron saint of ecology by Pope John Paul II in 1979.

Running from May 6 to July 30, 2023, the exhibit includes artifacts, relics, manuscripts, films and even a Marvel comic book from the 13th century to the present day.

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ntony Gormley Untitled (for Francis), 1985Lead, fiberglass and plaster, 190 × 117 × 29 cm Tate (T05004) (Antony Gormley/Tate/PA)

The curators will bring together paintings from the National Gallery’s collections by artists including Sassetta, Botticelli and Zurbarán.

It will also include international loans including Caravaggio’s St Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, as well as works by Stanley Spencer, Antony Gormley and Giuseppe Penone.

British sculptor Richard Long has been commissioned to do a piece for the exhibition.

The gallery has said that the range of artwork will “shed light on how St. Francis has captured the imagination of artists, and how their appeal has transcended times, continents, and various religious traditions”.

It states that the exhibition aims to examine how his “spiritual fundamentalism, his commitment to the poor, his love for God and nature” and “peace among enemies and openness to dialogue with other religions” His efforts are relevant even today.

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The show will be curated by National Gallery Director Gabriel Finaly and the gallery’s Ahmannson Research Associate Curator in Art and Religion, Jost Joustra.

This will be accompanied by an illustrated publication and a program of lectures, events, activities and digital content.

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