Artibus et Historiae no. 30 (XV)

1994, ISSN 0391-9064

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ANTHONY F. JANSON - The Meaning of the Landscape in Bellini's St. Francis in Ecstasy

The article proposes that the landscape in Giovanni Bellini's St. Francis in Ecstasy in the Frick Collection, New York, shows the Heavenly Jerusalem, a motive which originated in the North, although it is patterned loosely after Assisi. The cave serves to identify the saint with Jerome, so that it acts as the vehicle of salvation well in advance of Bosch and Patinir. While the scene has multiple resonances of meaning, the author further suggests that the likely subject is St. Francis seeking inspiration from the heavens as he is about to compose the Canticle of the Sun at San Damiano.

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