Domina Paupertas: the praise of voluntary poverty by St. Francis of Assisi and its reflection in late medieval Spanish painting

José María Salvador González


As is well known, St. Francis of Assisi heroically embraced evangelical poverty, renouncing material goods and living in abject poverty, in imitation of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, through his writings and oral testimonies collected by his disciples, the saint fervently urged Christians to live to some degree voluntary poverty , of which Christ was the perfect model. By basing this reading on some Poverello’s quotations, this paper intends to show the potential impact that these exhortations from San Francisco to poverty may have had in the late medieval Spanish painting, in some iconographic themes so significantly Franciscan as the Nativity and the Passion of the Redeemer. Through the analysis of a large set of paintings representing both issues, we will attempt to put into light if the teachings of St. Francis on evangelical poverty are reflected somehow in Spanish painting of the late Middle Ages.

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Signum Revista da ABREM (ISSN 2177-7306) - Associação Brasileira de Estudos Medievais