St. Francis Taming the Wolf
Original oil painting depicting St. Francis of Assisi in the famous legend of the Taming of the Wolf.
Description & Size
315O2436Original Oil Painting on Canvas, 24 x 36 inches. To view a video of this painting click here.
36.00" x 24.00"
315G2436Limited Edition Giclée Print on Canvas, 24 x 36 inches, Total Edition: 95 Prints
36.00" x 24.00"
315G1624Limited Edition Giclée Print on Canvas, 16 x 24 inches, Total Edition: 95 Prints
24.00" x 16.00"
315G0810Open Edition Giclée Print on Canvas, 8 x 10 inches
10.00" x 8.00"
Francis was born in the Umbrian town of Assisi with the fortune of being the wealthiest young man in town. In the levity of his youth, he enjoyed a lavishly carousing lifestyle, often generously hosting parties.
He pursued the common romantic vision of becoming a knight. After war broke out between Assisi and neighboring Perugia, Francis went to battle but was soon captured and imprisoned. After a year in prison, he returned to Assisi a broken man.
Nevertheless, he would choose once more to ride into battle but fate turned him back. In a vision, Francis was told to return to Assisi where his mission would be revealed. While praying in the dilapidated chapel of San Damiano, Francis heard God’s call, “Francis, go an repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.”
Misunderstanding the directive too literally, Francis famously resolved with his own hands to repair the building rather than God’s figurative house. Eventually Francis came to understand and embrace the bigger vision. He went to live with lepers and developed a deep compassion for the ill, despised, and poor.
Francis would then begin a brotherhood, professing a detachment to all material possessions and a dedication to those in need. Francis appealed to Pope Innocent III who endorsed the establishment of the Franciscan Order.
Championing the cause of forgiveness in the name of peace, Francis traveled to Spain, France, Switzerland, Dalmatia, and most famously to Syria, the Holy Land, and Egypt during the Fifth Crusade. He attempted to broker peace between the Christians and Muslims, gaining the admiration of the Sultan of Egypt but falling short of his goal.
St. Francis was the first in recorded history to bear the stigmata, or the five wounds of Christ, considered by many to be the highest representation of Christian faith.
He also embodied a famously beneficent compassion toward plants and animals. In the swan song of his life, he sang his Canticle of the Creatures in which he reveres all aspects of creation as brothers and sisters and urges love and forgiveness as the path to true peace and joy.
My personal favorite story of the patron saint of animals and environment concerns his connection with a wolf.
While Francis was staying in the town of Gubbio, he learned of a ravenous lone wolf that was terrorizing the people. After some pets and livestock were killed by the wolf, some villagers resolved to go kill the wolf only to become the wolf’s next victims. Residents became afraid to leave the city walls.
Then, Francis and a companion went out to meet the town’s nemesis against the advice of the villagers. While in the forest, suddenly the wolf, jaws agape, charged them. Francis calmly stood his ground, speaking compassionately to the wolf. “Brother Wolf,” said Francis, “I want to make peace between you and the people of Gubbio.”
St. Francis learned from the wolf that it had been abandoned by its pack. In its desperation for food, it had ventured into danger but really meant no harm.
Then Francis spoke again to the wolf offering reconciliation, “They will harm you no more and you must no longer harm them. All past crimes are to be forgiven.”
The wolf agreed.
St. Francis returned to Gubbio with the wolf. A stunned crowd watched Francis ask the wolf to make a pledge to do no more harm. In response, the wolf extended its front paw and placed it on the saint’s hand. Then St. Francis asked the townspeople to feed the wolf. Transformed by what they saw, they loudly and convincingly agreed.
From that day forward the peace was kept. The wolf lived for two years among the townspeople, lifestock, and pets receiving handouts. The wolf hurt no one and no one hurt it. When the wolf finally died of old age, the people of Gubbio reverently grieved their loss.