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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

Italian, 1563 - 1639
The Stigmatization of Saint Francis
Oil on canvas

65 x 45 ¾ inches

Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston
Arts of Europe

This monumental painting depicts the moment immediately after
Saint Francis received the stigmata (wounds of Christ) in his hand, feet,
and side. Supported by an angel, the medieval saint looks upward toward
a divine light as tears stream down his face.

Despite the presence of the angel, supernatural elements are suppressed: the vision of Christ that induced the stigmata appears only as a glow in the upper left of the painting. The substantial figures, naturalism, and dramatic treatment of light in this painting reflect Orazio Gentileschi’s encounter with the work of Caravaggio, whose first public commission was unveiled in Rome in 1600. Although Gentileschi was greatly influenced by Caravaggio’s style, the exquisite lavender, pink, scarlet, and blue-green of the angel’s clothing reveal lingering elements of Mannerism in Gentileschi’s work.