Were Franciscan Churches a Betrayal of St. Francis?

Were Franciscan Churches a Betrayal of St. Francis? (Tue, 18 October 2022, 17:00 – 18:30 BST, online)

Erik Gustafson's talk addresses two fundamental problems with regards to Franciscan churches: the question of poverty and architecture, and the issue of the role of dividing screens for the friars' lay constituency. Both topics hang on the problematic legacy of Francis himself in relation to the development of Franciscanism as a functioning religious order across the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Was the clericalization of the order a betrayal of Francis forced by the papacy or the logical development of Francis's idiosyncratic, charismatic spirituality, and how did these issues play out in the central Italian churches of the order? Such questions have potential ramifications for how painting and sculpture might have been experienced within Franciscan churches, as well as broader socio-religious connotations for the development of medieval religious spaces.

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