Detroit Institute of Arts presents Caravaggio’s Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy

. October 3, 2013

The Detroit Institute of Arts is to display Caravaggio’s Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, from Oct. 10 to Jan. 13.

Caravaggio Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, 1594.  Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund.

Caravaggio Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, 1594. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund.


It will hang next to the DIA’s Martha and Mary Magdalene, offering a rare opportunity to explore two of the best Caravaggios owned by American museums. These paintings will be on view alongside extraordinary works by Caravaggio’s followers from the DIA’s renowned European art collection.

Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy may be the first of all the religious scenes that Caravaggio painted, a genre for which he is famous. The Life of Saint Francis, written in 1262 by Saint Bonaventure, inspired this painting. Bonaventure recounts that Saint Francis, in the company of Brother Leon, had gone to pray at the Mount La Verna, near Florence. While praying, Francis had a vision of a crucified seraph (a winged celestial being) that imprinted the stigmata—five wounds inflicted on Christ during the crucifixion—onto Saint Francis’ body.

Category: Museum News

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