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Saint Francis of Assisi in Prayer

Saint Francis of Assisi in Prayer

Technical details

  • Author Juan Antonio de Frías y Escalante
  • Title Saint Francis of Assisi in Prayer
  • Timeline 1664
  • Technique Oil on canvas


This is one of the best works by Juan Antonio de Frías Escalante (1633-1669), a student of Francisco Rizzi, who painted in the High Baroque style in Madrid. It is signed and dated 1664. There is no doubt that this painting was commissioned by Capuchin friars as Saint Francis wears the habit of this offshoot of the Franciscan order. It is a half-length portrayal of the saint who has his hands crossed over his chest and gazes in ecstasy at the image of the Crucifixion, which stands on a stone that serves him as a table in a cave on Mount Alverno, where he retreated to pray and where he received the Stigmata from Christ. The book with the pen are a reference to the Franciscan order, which he founded, and the skull represents the penance and asceticism practised by the saint from Assisi. This work of great artistic quality incorporates the use of impasto and extensive blending to recreate the patching on the saint's habit. Escalante was inspired for his figure of the saint by that found in the large altar painting The Crucifixion with Saint Francis, painted by Van Dyck for the Capuchin church in Dendermonde, present-day Belgium, in 1629-1630, which Escalante copied from a print made by Pieter de Bailliu in 1643.

Location in the museum

You may find this artwork on  Floor 1 Goya’s Background