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In a New LightGiovanni Bellini’s "St. Francis in the Desert"

Published by GILES in association with The Frick Collection

Add to Cart US$55.00

Published — (UK and USA)

Dimensions — 232 pages, 280 × 240 mm (9 ½ × 11 in)

Illustrations — 180 colour

Format — Hardback

Price — UK£35.00 / US$55.00

ISBN — 978-1-907804-39-7

News  —  Bellini book is Outstanding Academic Title

Sales Points

"In some cases, a single work is a show in itself. The Frick Collection has such a star and has produced this superb book about it"—Holland Cotter, The New York Times Gift Guide

"A most wonderful present"—Sister Wendy Beckett

"This book will be of interest to anyone researching Bellini and the Venetian Renaissance"—Alexander Adams, Cassone

"Deeply absorbing and profoundly instructive"—Patrick McCaughey, The Times Literary Supplement

"With its superb color plates, illuminating close-ups of painting surface, elegantly written essays, and impeccable notes, the book is a model of how to explore an outstanding work of art, demonstrated here with resounding success"—D. Pincus, National Gallery of Art, Choice

About the Book

Giovanni Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert is a masterpiece of Venetian Renaissance art that has inspired generations of visitors to The Frick Collection. This monumental panel painting portrays Francis of Assisi, the medieval Christian saint who renounced earthly riches to embrace a humble existence of poverty, prayer, and obedience to the Gospels. Departing from canonical representations of the holy man’s life and miracles, Bellini has imagined Francis alone in a mountainous wilderness, stepping forward from his simple shelter into a golden light that seems to transfigure him spiritually. For centuries, viewers have puzzled over the work’s meaning—seeking explanations in a variety of pictorial and textual sources. Until recently, however, the artist’s practical conception and realization of this extraordinary vision have remained largely unexplored.

In a New Light presents the collective findings of an unprecedented technical examination of St. Francis in the Desert. Following a series of in-depth analyses— including infrared reflectography, X-radiography, microscopy, and paint sampling—an international group of specialists considered the artist’s working process and its implications for the picture’s meaning. Their findings provide a “glimpse over Bellini’s shoulder” and open new avenues of research into Venetian Renaissance painting and its cultural and religious context. Also published here for the first time are recently discovered documents pertaining to the provenance of St. Francis in the Desert during the nineteenth century, as well as synthetic studies of the work’s Franciscan milieu and early history.

A monograph of a single picture, In a New Light comprises essays and technical studies by leading experts in the fields of paintings conservation, Venetian art, the history of collecting, and Franciscan thought, accompanied by more than 150 colour illustrations that reveal Bellini’s masterwork as never seen before.

About the Author(s)

Denise Allen is Curator at The Frick Collection. Michael F. Cusato, O.F.M., is Distinguished Professor of History, St. Bonaventure University, and former Director of its Franciscan Institute, St. Bonaventure, New York. Anne-Marie Eze is Associate Curator of the collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston. Joseph Godla is Chief Conservator at The Frick Collection.
Charlotte Hale is a Paintings Conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Susannah Rutherglen is a Fellow of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. She served as Andrew W. Mellon Pre-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow at The Frick Collection from 2009 to 2011.