Back in the olden days, before cell phone cameras, I took this picture of Fra Angelico’s portrait of Saint Francis* and was chastised by a monk for my sins. It wasn’t the best behavior but I was so moved by this painting in its modest mounting, the directness with which the artist spoke to me, the connection I felt with the subject who I was convinced was the artist himself, that I just had to be able to see it again. It’s a very intimate painting, and in Florence’s San Marco Monastery, with its remarkable frescos, the room of paintings where it hung seemed like a bit of an afterthought. For me, it was one of the greatest experiences I had during my trip to Italy.
I plan to take its message to heart this weekend at the SCBWI conference, and work on listening before speaking, take everything in before opining. And I will take its reminder that beauty and profound experience come in many forms and and at unexpected times.
Have a fabulous and thoughtful Wednesday.
*I remember this as Saint Francis – but can find no image of the painting online to confirm that memory. Let me know if you know different.