St. Francis in the desert, 1480
oil and tempera on poplar panel
49 in. x 55 7/8 in.
image: Frick Collection
title and date from Frick
One of my favorite paintings at the Frick Collection in New York, this is one of those paintings that when you come across it you spend a lot of time with it (and very likely wander back to that room after you've seen everything else).
While I am done with nature in art week, it spills a bit over into this work. There is a specific attention paid to the details of nature, as the saint stands in communion with nature. The story tells us that Francis moved to a cave in the barren wilderness, but here we see a different interpretation as this landscape is alive with livestock and fields. If you follow the link to the image, you can zoom into the details of the painting (a wonder to see in person but until you make it to the Frick...).
An interesting note too, I came across this painting for today in an art history text book, with the caption reminding me that it was in the Frick Collection. While these details can change (selling and buying of work) titles and dates do as well. The title of this work in the book is, Saint Francis in Ecstasy, while the Frick has in the Desert. The date in the book is 1470s and in the Frick's label, 1480. I go with the owning institution's details as they should be the ones who have done work on provenance and more about the work. Just a little info on the work of art and research.