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Francis and the Wolf 

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  Art Description

The serigraph’s central panel shows Francis sitting with the wolf lying at his feet.  They are surrounded by dense forest and other wild creatures.  Bordering the top and bottom of the main scene are ten miniatures depicting Francis’ life.  These emphasize his celebration of  God’s creation and his compassion and care for all living things.  Four miniature panels on each side refer to the beauty and wonder of creation as expressed in Francis’s “Canticle of Brother Sun.”

 

This work developed from Swanson’s series depicting the life of Francis of Assisi.  Villagers of Gubbio, Italy expressed their deep concern to Brother Francis about a wolf that preyed upon their livestock and threatened travelers.  Francis entered the woods and implored the wolf to live in peace with all creation.  The wolf agreed.

 

Swanson states, “ In my painting, Francis sits and listens to the wolf’s own story of fear in the face of the villagers’ cruelty…. I see Francis as a minstrel singing to the wolf.  Nature understands the song of Francis, which echoes the stories and songs of all people: Native Americans, Greeks (Orpheus), and Hebrews (David).  These stories and songs honor the Creator and move people to care for all creation.”

 

Artist’s Notes

This serigraph, based upon my earlier crayon sgraffito (1985), has been carefully developed, embellished and enriched during its printing.  The process of building the 48 colors over a period of seven months has resulted in a serigraph edition that I believe to be among my best.

 

The wolf is like our shadow side…the dark side we deny in ourselves and in our society.  Until we are ready to embrace and speak to the “wolf” within us, it remains destructive.  Francis enlightened us by approaching the menacing wolf and treating him with kindness.  One exercises full creativity only when the complete self is accepted, including the

shadows.

John August Swanson July, 2002

Excerpt from "Canticle of Brotgher Sun"

May you be praised, O Lord, by all creatures,
But especially by our brother, the sun
Who brings us the day
And allows you to shine on us!

May you be praised, O Lord,
For our sisters, the stars and the moon,
Which you have scattered through the heavens,
Clear, precious, and beautiful!

May you be praised, O Lord,
For our mother, the earth,
Who gives us shelter and nourishment
Abundant fruits, varied herbs, and flowers!

May you be praised, O Lord,
For all those who,
Because they love you,
Pardon others
And support the weak and sick.

May you be praised, O Lord,
For all who die to establish peace.
May all of them be happy in You, O Most High,
And may they receive from You the crown of glory.

Saint Francis

 

Image Documentation 

An original, hand-printed serigraph published by the artist with collaboration of master printer James F. Butterfield II at Aurora Serigraphic Studio, Van Nuys, California.

Completed July 18, 2002.

Edition Size: 225

Dimensions: Image: 26" x 18"
                
Paper: 30" x 22"

Paper: Coventry, 100% cotton rag, white vellum, acid free, mouldmade in USA, 290 gsm/m2

Colors: 48 colors printed
Price: $800.00

 

 

Detail from Francis and the Wolf

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 John August Swanson