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The Vision of St. FrancisEnlarge image

The Vision of St. Francis, c. 1597

Annibale Carracci
Italian, 1560 - 1609
pen and brown ink with brown wash on cream laid paper
20.9 x 22.6 cm
Purchased 1981
National Gallery of Canada (no. 26531r)

Formerly attributed to Guercino, this lightly handled sketch relates to a small painting on copper now also in the National Gallery of Canada (no. 18905). Compared to the picture, the drawing treats the theme of the angel presenting Saint Francis to the Christ Child in a more direct, less remote way. The outstretched arms of the child prefigure the Crucifixion - a subject of the greatest relevance for Saint Francis's spiritual life. This mystical image abounding in pathos was popular in Counter-Reformation Rome.

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