Canticle of the Creatures, illuminated text, Piero Casentini
Framed print, 8.25" x 11.75"
Eight distinct visual representations of selected verses from the "Canticle of the creatures", plus the illuminated text itself.
The works of Piero Casentini are based on the 13th century Umbrian poem, The Canticle of the Creatures, composed by Francis of Assisi shortly before his death in 1226 on October 4, 1226. Cited as the first poetic work of Italian Literature, the poem sings of his praise for all of God's Creation, and the familial relationships humans have with the natural world. While Francis did not "craft" this poem, there is a particular structure to it that beings with the praises to the "Most High" God (Altissimu, the ultimate) and ends with the word "humility" (humiliate, the least). This "downward mobility" is paramount to Franciscan Sprituality to live among, and on behalf of, the poor and the outcast, and in a dependent relationship with God from whom all gifts come.
The poem follows the order of natural and human experience. The poem of praise (pictured to the left), begins with praises to the sources of Light - Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and the Stars, continuing with the four basic elements - Brother Wind, Sister Water, Brother Fire, and Mother Earth, and finally with the human experiences of Pardon and Sister Death. The final line speaks of Francis' fundamental ethos of gratitude and services for the gifts given in all of Creation.