St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata

Limoges or Italy, circa 1228-30?
Copper champlevé enameled and gilded
Musée National de l'Age Médiévale, Paris

In the top leaf of the quatrefoil is St. Francis's vision of the crucified Christ on a seraph with wounds on his hands and feet. As described in Thomas of Celano's account, the seraph is flying with two wings while two more are folded above the human figure and two below. In the bottom leaf, the saint receives the "stigmata," the wounds in his hands, feet, and side that are a participation in Christ's own suffering.

On the left and right are what appear to be "lily of the valley" flowers, which cluster in this way at the tops of short stalks. If so, they are somewhat stylized: the individual blooms of this plant are shaped like bells, not like cotton balls. The flower was used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary and/or of her purity.1 It was not used as an attribute in images of St. Francis.

Read more about images of St. Francis.

Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

1 Impelluso, 79; Sill, 52.