Francis is not a saint like the others. His conversion to poverty is a revolution in medieval monasticism. St. Francis and St. Dominic are independently of one another the greatest reformers of Christian life.
Francis practices a mystical prayer far away from the interpretations of the Gospels which facilitates his appreciation by El Greco. On December 7 in London, Christie's sells a scene showing Saint Francis and Brother Leo in meditation, autograph oil on canvas 110 x 65 cm estimated £ 5M, lot 14.
This work is typical of the maturity of the artist in Toledo. The expressiveness of the faces is counterbalanced by the elongated body of the saint which reinforces the impression of presence. The mystic light of the day enters the cave. The saint holds in his hands a human skull, a symbol promoted in 1548 by Ignatius of Loyola as the best incentive to contemplation.
The painting 168 x 103 cm kept at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa is considered as its original version. Made around 1600, it is comparable to the Saint Dominic in prayer of which a 75 x 58 cm autograph copy was sold for £ 9.2M including premium by Sotheby's on July 3, 2013.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's about the Saint Francis of the next sale.
SOLD for £ 6.9M including premium