Mindfulness and Art: Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata

Oil painting of Saint Francis
El Greco (1541-1614), Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata, 1590-1595. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Take 5 minutes

Spend 5 minutes sitting in silence, looking at this painting.

Some things to reflect on while looking in silence:

  • How do you feel while looking at the painting?
  • What do you notice? What is your eye drawn to?
    • The artist's lines and marks
    • The composition
    • The light
    • The shadows
    • The colours
    • The forms and shapes
    • The subject
  • What is the mood and atmosphere?
  • Why do you think the artist created the painting?
Skull and hand
Saint Francis's face

About the painting

El Greco (1541–1614), Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata, 1590–​​​​​​​1595

Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known as El Greco, was a Greek artist. He was one of the most original painters of his time, blending the Byzantine style of his early work with Italian and Spanish Baroque influences. Dating to his Spanish period, this compelling work represents Saint Francis of Assisi experiencing a mystical vision during which he received stigmata (wounds corresponding to those left on Christ’s hands during the Crucifixion). The saint is placed against a bright blue sky with tempestuous clouds, which give the painting a spiritual intensity.

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