“The Little Giant: How St. Francis of Assisi Changed the World”
Presented by Dr. Rocky Ruggiero
At the turn of the 13th and 14th Centuries, a man named Francis from Assisi changed the world. Not only did he begin to reform the Catholic Church by living the example of Christ in taking a vow of poverty, but he also changed the way that medieval Christians saw the natural world. Francis claimed that the nature was given to us as a gift from God and therefore was not only good but imbued with God himself. Nature should not be shunned and ignored, but celebrated and revered. Not surprisingly, within a half century of his death in 1226, artists like Cimabue, Dante and Giotto appeared, and each reflected the little giant’s philosophy in his respective art. This lecture examines the history, architecture and decoration of great shrine to St. Francis in Assisi that was decorated by a veritable all-star team of late-13th/early-14th-century artists such as Cimabue, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti and perhaps even Giotto.