Sankt Franciskus och kyskhetens ikonografi

Minna Hamrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Title: Saint Francis and the Iconography of ChastityDuring the second half of the 16th century, images of a naked Saint Francis of Assisi, lying on a bed of burning coal accompanied by a female prostitute, started to appear in Franciscan art – first in illustrated manuscripts and then in oil paintings and murals. The motif is known as "La castitá essemplaria di san Francesco" (St Francis’s Exemplary Chastity) or "Le tentazioni di san Francesco" (The Temptations of St Francis) and forms part of the new Franciscan iconography that developed as a result of the Catholic reformation (1545–1563). Many of the episodes illustrated by Giotto and the artists of the 14th and 15th centuries were replaced by others that focused on Francis’s poverty, humility and exemplary chastity. In this article, the iconography of St Francis’s Exemplary Chastity in Italian art is studied from its origin in late 16th-century engravings through its developments in oil painting and murals until the early 18th century. The origin of the story is found in I Fioretti di San Francesco (The Little Flowers of St Francis). The Saint is pictured as a potent and muscular "Miles Christi" offering an example of his spotlessly chaste character through resisting a young prostitute, but who also performs a miracle and saves her soul. This image, it is argued, reflects the position of the reformed Catholic Church, where the individual’s own responsibility for salvation was clearly emphasized.Keywords Saint Francis Exemplary Chastity, Temptation of Saint Francis, I fioretti di S. Francesco, Franciscan iconography, Catholic Reformation, Italian art
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)46–69
JournalICO Iconographisk Post. Nordisk tidskrift för bildforskning – Nordic Review of Iconography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Italian art
  • Catholic Reformation
  • Franciscan iconography
  • I fioretti di S. Francesco
  • Temptation of Saint Francis
  • Saint Francis of Assisi
  • Exemplary Chastity

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