St Francis was not an artist himself, of course, but he helped bring about a new religious vision that emphasized the human and the personal. This new humanistic thinking gradually began to be reflected in works of art.
On our art tour of Italy in June (2013), we went to Assisi and saw the home of St Francis. We visited San Damiano, the little church which St Francis famously rebuilt...
...and inside we saw the crucifix that he said spoke to him.
We also visited the hermitage on top of Mount Subasio where St Francis lived, preached, and meditated.
Here is my drawing of Giotto's fresco where St Francis preaches to the birds.
Giotto was particularly important in bringing St Francis's new vision into the world of art and is now generally seen as one of the forefathers of Renaissance art. On our tour, we stopped in Padua at the famous Arena Chapel, whose interior is entirely decorated by Giotto's frescoes.
The frescoes tell the stories of Saint Mary and Jesus.
Giotto's frescoes show a shift toward more human, life-like, and narrative art - all things that would grow and flourish in the Renaissance.
In Florence, we also saw Giotto's fresco, Mourning St Francis, at Santa Croce.
We also went to the Brancacci Cappella where we saw frescoes by Massacio, another early Renaissance painter who was very influential and who brought the real and the personal into art.
He was also one of the first painters to utilize one-point perspective. This is especially evident in the fresco, Holy Trinity, which we saw in Florence’s Santa Maria Novella.
Apparently, one of the most famous High Renaissance artists, Michelangelo, studied the works of Massacio and some of Michelangelo’s first sketches were of Massacio’s works. In Florence, we got to see Michelangelo’s David at the Academia.
...and we saw his Deposition at the Museo Dell’Opera de Duomo.
And then in Rome, of course, we saw his *AMAZING* ceiling at the Sistine Chapel
..and his famous Pieta with the Virgin Mary in St Peter’s Basilica.
On our travels, we saw many other amazing works by High Renaissance artists. Highlights included, Donatello's David at the Bargello in Florence.
And at the Uffizi museum (where we spent 6 hours!), we saw the Annunciation with its angel painted by Leonardo Da Vinci.
...and Botticelli’s Primavera and Birth of Venus.
In the Vatican Museums, we saw a number of Raphaels, including The School of Athens.
And in Venice, we saw paintings by Bellini, Tintoretto, and Titian. Here are my drawings of
Tintoretto's Assumption of the Virgin at Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari...
...Giovanni Bellini’s San Giobbe’s Altarpiece at Gallerie dell’Academia in Venice)
This is Jojo and Baba reenacting the scene where Dante first saw his beloved Beatrice - and she didn't notice him! (the church where this happened is right behind them!).
Italy was super fun. We went to 22 churches and museums and saw too many masterpieces to count! We are yummy pasta and pizza and bread and I especially loved the gelatos. Here's me eating my last one in Rome!
And finally, a little movie...
...and a few more photos!