Stigmatization of St. Francis, St. Bartholomew, and Tobias and the Angel
Andrea della Robbia
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This glazed terracotta work functioned as an elborate frame for a ciborium (a container for the Host, the bread or wafter believed to become the body of Christ during the mass). A sixteenth century painted wood door for the ciborium must have replaced a similar original image. The Stigmatization of St. Francis is appropriate in this Franciscan church but also for a ciborium, because this moment marks on his body Francis' status as the imitator of Christ. The other scene shows Tobias and the Angel. In a lunette over the ciborium door, St. Bartholomew is depicted and invoked in the predella inscription, because this work was commissioned for the Cappella Cerchi in Santa Croce by the confraternity of St. Bartholomew, flagellants (devotees who beat themselves to show penitence) who met in this chapel. Two members of the company, wearing hoods to shield their identity so that they cannot be accused of making a mere show of piety, are shown in the humblest way possible, tiny and outlined flat in the predella, as opposed to the richly modelled and ornamented figures and architectural elements above. Both St. Francis and Tobias overlap the framing, moving into the viewers' space. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.