Painted for the church of San Michele Arcangelo annexed to the convent of the Poor Clares, the altar piece shows a monumental figure of Saint Clare leaning against a high balustrade. The saint holds a precious monstrance with which, according to the legend, she put away the Saracens who were besieging Assisi.
The accent placed on the Eucharist can be related to the debate on the theses held by the protestants, refuted by the Council of Trento (1545-1563). The balustrade may be the symbol of the solidity of the doctrinal basis of Catholic theology with regard to this sacrament.
Its extreme, didactic clarity and its archaizing and austere layout make this work a kind of manifesto of ‘reformed’ painting, in tune with the aspirations of that sobre and deep religious sentiment that characterized Catholic reformation.


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