Museum Catharijneconvent will be presenting an exhibition on the most famous saint in the world: Francis of Assisi. Each year tens of thousands of people visit the church in Assisi where Francis lies buried. Who was Francis of Assisi? What were his ideals, and how were artists affected by his thinking? The exhibition will answer these questions with the aid of superb works of art.
Famed as a nature lover, a man with overwhelming charisma, a miracle worker, celebrated as a preacher for whom even the birds came down from the trees, a man with great empathy for others. Francis’s many guises appealed to the imagination of great artists from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries. Works by Taddeo di Bartolo, Fra Angelico, Ludovico Carracci, Bernardo Strozzi, Rembrandt, Escher and many others evoke tranquillity and cast a mystical spell. Together they create an impressive overview of the depiction of Francis down the ages.
Animal lover and source of inspiration
The exhibition will pay particular attention to the relationship between Francis and nature, and to the connection between the saint and World Animal Day. And who knew that Francis the mystic was a very important subject of study in the Middle Ages? A light will also be shed on the imitation of Francis. Personal stories make it clear that he is still a source of inspiration for many people.
Guest curator Henk van Os
In 2016 Henk van Os will be retiring as a professor at the University of Amsterdam. His departure will be marked by this exhibition and a series of lectures at the university. A former director of the Rijksmuseum, he can rightly be described as an expert on the portrayal of Francis. The saint has been a companion of his for over 50 years now. ‘Francis in art runs like a thread through my career as an art historian. There are works of art that you never forget, that have a decisive influence on your life and work.’ His desire to make an exhibition about Francis is about to be satisfied in Museum Catharijneconvent.