Question on St. Francis of Assisi artwork?


I have found two beautiful pictures of our dear St. Francis of Assisi embracing Christ.

The one by artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo – St. Francis’ foot is on the “world” and the second one by artist Franciso Ribalta – St. Francis’ foot is on a leopard. I’ve always wanted to know if there was a meaining behind that or if that is just the work of the artist?

(In advanced) thank you for your answers.

God bless,


+Gorgeous inspired works of art! **The Blessed Holy Saint Francis of Assisi's love for **Sacred :bible1: Scripture was well documented . . . perhaps the inspiration comes from the below . . . wonderful quote . . . from the Holy Word of **God** . . . ? . . .

The Holy :bible1: Bible
Isaiah 11:6-10

6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb: and the LEOPARD shall lie down with the kid: the calf and the lion, and the sheep shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The calf and the bear shall feed: their young ones shall rest together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp: and the weaned child shall thrust his hand into the den of the basilisk. 9 They shall not hurt, nor shall they kill in all my holy mountain, for the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea. 10 In that day the root of Jesse [Christ Jesus], who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.

Thanks for sharing . . . *
[RIGHT]. . . all for *
*. . . thank You Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+


In Western Christian art, the leopard usually represents pride, cruelty, sin, Satan, or Antichrist. (Check out Signs & Symbols in Christian Art by George Ferguson.) Francis' foot on the leopard would be somewhat analogous to Mary trampling the serpent: it shows that his humility and love for Jesus conquer pride.


I have a print of the Murillo in my home - it was a gift when I was professed as a Secular Franciscan.

Certainly it has deep significance. St Francis’ foot on the world represents his renunciation of worldly things - material possessions and the like - in order to more perfectly follow Christ who also renounced the world.

More than that, it actually represents St Francis’ VICTORY over ‘the world’ and all its sinful enticements - in the same way the Psalms say ‘your enemies I will place beneath your feet’.


In Dante's "Inferno" the leopard represents the sin of fraud.


No, not the sin of fraud, but fraudulent, malicious sins. Sins that include presenting yourself as something you’re not.

Pride includes lying to yourself and others about who you are; so it’s a sin of fraud. It presents itself to you as harmless and helpful; so it’s even more a sin of fraud.


Thank you and God bless all of you for your answers.


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