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This seventeenth-century panel painting is a depiction of a praying Franciscan monk, or of Saint Francis. The grey-brown habit, the skull and the book are the iconographical elements that identify the monk as Franciscan, or as Saint Francis in prayer. The composition is simple but dramatic. The skull, hands and face of the man are almost monochrome. They are lit by a strong light coming from above. The composition of the scene, the gaze of the central figure, the mannerism of the hands and the religious fervour suggest that the painter was inspired by Spanish painters like Francisco de Zurbarán, or El Greco. De Zurbarán in particular regularly painted monks and saints in a state of religious exaltation. The cradling on the back of the panel has been added at a later date.
104 x 76 cm