The paintings of this series were begun after I returned to the Pacific Northwest following a year in Italy. They are my homage, not only to Francis, but to Giotto and Cimabue, whose frescoes of Francis’s life inspired me to tackle the subject myself.
In choosing the seven “events” from Francis’s eventful and storied life, I simply picked the ones that had the most meaning for me. Thus some of the subjects will be familiar to students of Francis’s iconography; others—like his building of a snow family—haven’t been depicted before, to my knowledge. In retrospect, I can see that I stayed away from scenes in which I couldn’t imagine myself (preaching to birds and taming wolves come to mind). The moments I chose spoke to me of the decisions I face in my own life: whether, and how, to sacrifice, create, commit, believe.
I wanted to bring Francis near, to connect with him. Presenting each event from Francis’s first-person viewpoint helped me, and I hope will help viewers, to see each of these moments through his eyes. I followed well-established artistic precedent in setting the scenes in my own present, rather than in the 13th century—the exception being The Death of Francis (After Giotto), which is a re-framing of Giotto’s Santa Croce painting from Francis’s point of view, as the mists of death dissolve his world.