Francisco Ribalta, St. Francis Embracing the Crucified Christ (1620s)

Spain has a long, tense history with mysticism, but eventually mysticism became very popular. The ultimate goal of the mystic is union with the divine. Francis was a mystic and ascetic who is seen here contemplating Christ’s suffering. Christ appears to him in a vision and embraces him. At first glance, this painting seems rather calm, but it actually has a lot going on. Christ has placed his Crown of Thorns on Francis’ head, inviting Francis to partake in his sufferings. Angels are moving in with a much softer, gentler crown of flowers to place on Christ’s head. Take a close look at the painting and you’ll notice that Francis’ open mouth is literally on the wound in Christ’s side. This might be a reference to communion – Francis is literally drinking Christ’s blood as the command is in the Gospels. While embracing Christ and kissing his wound, Francis is also trampling a leopard wearing a crown – symbols of pride and vanity, which are spiritual killers. Even though the event in this painting is a supernatural one, Ribalta depicts it in earthly, physical terms.

Adriana dice:

Es una de mis imágenes favoritas, San Francisco de Asis abrazando a Cristo, tiene un interpretación bellísima… Él, el pobrecillo de Asis se convirtió en el otro Cristo y vivió la vida según el Evangelio, esta pintura representa la vivencia de este enamorado de Dios… simplemente bellísima!!



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