Saturday, June 6, 2009

Painting 3: Modernity and Religion

(Via The Finch Wench)

Saint Francis and the Birds (1935) by Stanley Spencer

My apologies for the delay in posting the third painting. I have to also apologize to Ben for posting a third religious painting in a row. I said I wouldn't but this one is so damn charming I had no choice. I did however break my rule of posting them in the same order as the book.

Here is the story of St. Francis and the birds.

The painting is a somewhat modern take on this story. Apparently when this painting was displayed in was quite controversial to take on of the most popular saints and stick him in these modern times. The setting is actually the back yard of the painter's parent's house.

This controversy is rather ridiculous in my view because of how often middle age and renaissance painters moved their religious imagery into their times. Apparently Spencer meant no disrespect towards St Francis or god or the church. He was a reader of St Francis' writings.

Spencer at the time this painting was created Spencer was in the midst of a love triangle of sorts and it is thought that the woman in the picture is the 'new' woman but echoes a drawing he did of his first wife. Peculiar.

I like this painting a lot. It is a somewhat comical depiction of a fable like story. St. Francis has bedroom slippers on and any time religious figures are depicted with bedroom footwear it has my approval!


  1. good old bean-head francis of assisi. i still don't quite get what he's doing there -- his upraised hand looks like it has knuckles on the wrong side.

    you have way more followers than me. i had to hide my list in embarrassment. :P

  2. No kidding! Someone needs to take his arms off and switch them. They do appear to be backwards. How did I not see that?!

    I have two followers that have accidently double followed me. It just looks like a lot!