Professor delves into the life of St. Francis

By Peyton Voorheis
Staff Writer

Students, staff and friars filled the Gentile Gallery at 6 p.m. to learn about our patron, St. Francis of Assisi, and how he is represented in art on Nov. 6.

Dr. Alan Schreck, who holds a doctorate in theology, presented on the frescoes of the upper level of the Basilica of St. Francis, painted by Giotto di Bondone.

These frescoes include scenes from the life of St. Francis, many based on “Legenda Maior” by St. Bonaventure, as well as from the Gospel and Old Testament.

Schreck elaborated on the role that the story of St. Francis, as well as art, has played in evangelization. He said that churches or other holy sites would be a common pilgrimage site, and many illiterate members of the population would be able to view the art.

“This is a way that people were instructed and catechized about the faith,” said Schreck.

Schreck went on to highlight that this still occurs today, even for those who have previously been exposed to the faith.

“We have catechesis through art,” says Schreck, “that’s very important, that people be reminded of things they knew.”

Schreck showed attendees images of the Franciscan frescoes and walked through both the stories from Francis’ life, as well as the connections that could be made to the other surrounding paintings.

“There are all sorts of connections of the different frescoes with each other,” explained Schreck. “It’s sort of like a puzzle.”

The audience was given handouts that showed the layout of the Basilica and the locations of all the frescoes to reference throughout the talk. They particularly referred to biblical connections Giotto highlighted with his layout.

There were also images of the frescoes on the back table of the gallery for the audience to peruse before and after the talk.

Sophomore psychology and spanish major Orlando Calzudes appreciated the talk, saying that “He’d seen many beautiful churches, and always felt “there was something deeper there” but had ‘no idea how to interpret it.’”

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