Sabbatical Week 7

I was joined by Erwin for a few final days in Assisi before we went to Florence and Rome. I’ve continued to let St. Francis be my guide and lens for sabbatical, allowing me to extend my doctoral work on Franciscan art and theology and also to deepen my own Franciscan spirituality. (In addition, I’m taking the advice of a wise bishop who suggested I have a focus of some kind when visiting Italy, to prevent what otherwise might be a kind of sensory and aesthetic overload.) So far, no overload, but enormous joy and gratitude.

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Sculpture of St. Francis, Church of St. Damian and St. Cosmas, Rome, home of the Third Order Regular Franciscans of the Roman Church.

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Ash Wednesday at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Florence.

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St. Francis (lower left) and many others depicted in “The Last Judgment,” by Vasari and Zuccari in the Duomo, Florence (1572-1579).

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Fresco showing The Coronation of the Virgin Mary, by Fra Angelico, San Marco Convent, Florence (1440-1442).

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Three interpretations of St. Francis receiving the stigmata. One: Pulpit at Santa Croce, Florence, by Benedetto da Maiano, 1442-1498.

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Second Interpretation: Giotto, Bardi Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence, (1325-1328).

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Third Interpretation: Panel by the Maestro Della Croce, c.1240-1250), now in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

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Illustration of Bonaventure’s poetic composition, “Tree of Life” (Lignum Vitae) by Pacino di Buonaguida, early 14th c., now in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

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Another interpretation of Bonaventure’s “Tree of Life” in the large refectory at Santa Croce by Taddeo Gaddi, c. 1360. (Now used as a lecture space, how could anyone not seem brilliant and holy with THAT backdrop?)

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This is a famous 13th c. wood painting, “Scenes from the Life of St. Francis,” usually on the altar in the Bardi Chapel of Santa Croce. It was probably the one thing I most hoped to see in Florence.

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Not to be deterred…..I was able to hold my phone-camera up over the screened area and get a picture of the actual restoration. It’s an extremely rare painting perhaps by Barone Berlinghieri.

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For my last Sunday in the pew, it was wonderful to be with the congregation at St. Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome. (Erwin took this picture before church– there was a good crowd later.) Thanks to Father Austin Rios for his very warm welcome.

About John F. Beddingfield

Rector of The Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal) in New York City on East 88th Street between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave.
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