{SpamScore: ssss}Re: [Milton-L] Fwd: somewhat off topic art question

Roy Flannagan roy at gwm.sc.edu
Tue Jan 1 21:35:53 EST 2008

Jeffrey, several things occurred to me after reading the account of the
seraphim with stigmata and Francis, together with the Giotto painting in
the basilica of Assisi: the seraph, so far as I can tell, is just an
angel in Francis's dream, but an angel with the stigmata; and I think
you are making a leap both in interpreting the legend and the fresco to
make the angel imitating Christ into Christ himself.  The point might be
that both the seraph and Francis are emulating Christ in accepting his

The seraph as painted conforms to same dimensions and wing-formation as
would Raphael  in Paradise Lost 5.277ff or in Isaiah 6.2.  Check my
notes on the brightness and the color of those wings in the Riverside

And, in Assisi, doves are still very much associated with St. Francis,
and, just to add another wrinkle, the dove is associated with the other
members of the Trinity in Genesis when the Sprit (interpreted by
Christians as the Holy Spirit) dove-like sits brooding.  To quote Dolly
Parton, among other interpreters, "On the wings of a snow white dove, He
sends His pure sweet love, ...."

Roy Flannagan

>>> jefferyhodges at yahoo.com 1/1/2008 8:38 PM >>>
Cynthia, I've now posted on this topic at my blog:

  As I note there, I doubt that this legend about St. Francis has much
if any connection either to Malachi 4:2 or to Charles Wesley, for the
'winged Christ' is wounding rather than healing St. Francis (though I
suppose that it is a spiritual healing).
  I've linked to a few other images illustrating the same story of St.
Francis, too.
  Jeffery Hodges

gilliaca at jmu.edu wrote:
> I'm sure that if you poke around a bit, you'll find
> more images. They all seem to be associated with the
> story of the vision seen by St. Francis as he
> received the stigmata.
Hmmm. These are interesting. Thanks. I do wonder, however, how likely
it is that Charles Wesley would have [a] known about them or [b] used
them if he did.

Again, thanks
Cynthia A. Gilliatt
English Department, JMU
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"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you
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University Degrees:

Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
(Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

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