Object Image

Saint Francis

This praying saint comes from the upper tier of a large polyptych (multi-panelled altarpiece) which Crivelli painted in 1476 for the high altar of the church of San Domenico, in Ascoli Piceno in the Italian Marche. This is Saint Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order - friars who lived in towns and cities to provide educated preachers and teachers for a growing urban population.

The austere grey of his habit with its crisp, deep folds forms a striking contrast to the glittering damask patterns tooled into the gilded background. Crivelli was skilled at exploiting the optical effects of the different gold surfaces, which would have flickered and shone in the candlelight of a medieval church, m...

1476
Tempera on poplar
61.0 x 39.5cm
NG788.6
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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