The work of Nicholas Roerich “Saint Francis” is a steam room to the canvas of 1932 “Saint Sergius of Radonezh”. The painting was painted in the same year of 1932 and is currently located in the collections of the Museum of Nicholas Roerich in New York.
In the painting, St. Francis is depicted in “great simplicity”. The image of Francis is extremely ascetic. The great saint is clothed in simple modest monastic robes. In his hands he holds a small dove. The monastic dress of Francis is quite spacious and large vertical lines, drawing folds, emphasize the fragility, the incorporeality of the saint. Sharp cheekbones and thin pointed nose, small palms and bare feet – all this is an incredible spirituality and asceticism, detachment from all earthly things. A small cross, attached to the belt, a kind, serves as a modest sign of the servant of God. The world and peace of the image begins with the image of a dove in the hands of Francis and is enhanced by the image of a flowering bush with a bird’s nest. Small pink flowers complement this lightweight without disturbing the harmony of excesses, the predecessors of vice. Birds, their hasty silhouettes, completely carefree. Birds are not afraid of Francis, feeling the mercy and warmth coming from him. Dark blue clouds do not touch the bright world, protected by Francis, only gently bordering its edges. Heat and light emanate from the earth, resting only somewhere very high in the
Roerich’s canvas “Saint Francis” is a serious long work of the author’s thought and spirit, capable of embodying and making such complex not only great but sacred images more alive and close. At the same time, the slightest mistake is harmful to the creator and the image he creates. This great responsibility is worthy of a great master.