(b. 1571, Caravaggio, d. 1610, Porto Ercole)

St Francis in Meditation

c. 1606
Oil on canvas, 130 x 90 cm
Museo Civico "Ala Ponzone", Cremona

This seems to be an unconventional composition, and depicts the saint front-on, near a tree trunk, bending over a book. Even so, the artist decides not to depict the joyous devotion to nature expressed in St Francis's hymn to the sun. Once again, the artist has reduced the founder of the Franciscan Order to a simple, ritual model, latterly in the tradition of St Jerome.

The sole surviving example of the painting is in bad condition, but it is probably an authentic work by Caravaggio.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 33 minutes):
Michael Haydn: St Francis Mass