La Verna’s story
The site of St Francis’ sanctuary at La Verna was given to the gentle friar by Count Orlando of Chiusi in 1213. Here the saint built a simple hermitage and used the peaceful mountainside as a tranquil place away from the hubbub of the 13th century.
It was on Monte Penna that in 1224 St Francis, while fasting, received the stigmata. An event that was captured some 200 years later in Ghirlandaio’s painting, and featured the sanctuary in the background.
What started out as a simple hermitage with a little chapel has now grown into a fully functioning friary with a church, refreshment cafe, souvenir shop and the monks quarters. La Verna is also home to a number of pieces of art with several ceramics by Andrea della Robbia.
The painting features the monastery buildings perched upon the sheer cliff of Monte Penna, with the woodlands above, along with the little chapel and the summit marker. From this high vantage point you can see the green, Tuscan countryside and also over the borders into Umbria and Le Marche as well.
The final painting features heavy, black ink line. This is partly due to my stained glass background, where it is normal to view pictures as surrounded with an outline. But also being colour blind it helps me differentiate between the reds, greens, oranges, greys and pinks. And I like the look.
You can see the progress and ideas behind the painting by checking out these earlier posts that record the work.
Prints of the picture are available to buy by clicking here.