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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Frame by Frame

At the MFA, comfort in the arms of an angel

This sweet and mystical picture was painted by the notoriously crabby Italian painter Orazio Gentileschi in about 1600. The painting came into the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts only two years ago and now hangs in its newly refurbished Koch Gallery.

It is the first of four attempts by Gentileschi to address the theme of Saint Francis in ecstasy, a popular standard at the time. Saint Francis was one of the most beloved and — by the authorities — heavily promoted saints of the Counter-Reformation.

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