Francisco Goya, St. Francis Borgia Helping a Dying Impenitent, 1788

Goya’s long-time patrons the Duke and Duchess of Osuna commissioned him to paint two scenes from the life of Saint Francis for a chapel dedicated to the saint in the Cathedral of Valencia. This scene comes from an 18th Century account of the saint’s life written by Cardinal Alvaro Cienfuego who states that the saint realized that this sinner couldn’t be saved and “detached its [the crucifix’s] nailed right arm, and placing its hand in that profusely bleeding lacerated wound in its chest, withdrew a fist filled with blood, and hurled it with indignation at the frowning, denigrated face, saying ‘Since you scorn this blood, which was shed for your glory, let it serve for your eternal unhappiness.’ Then that pitiful man, with an awful, blasphemous shout directed against Jesus Christ, gave up his soul, convulsed by a horrid moan, and it was turned over to the infamous ministers of fire and fright.”

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