The picture we chose for Lady Jacoba de Settesoli is by the medieval artist Simone Martini. It is a fresco from the Lower Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. For many years it has been claimed that it represents Saint Clare, but in recent years there are those who think it is actually Lady Jacoba de Settesoli, because there are seven suns in her halo - sette soli. Saint Clare is normally shown in a religious habit, including other works by Simone Martini in the Basilica. For this reason the picture is chosen here for Lady Jacoba de Settesoli. The artist, Simone Martini, was born in 1284 and lived to 1344 so he would not have met Lady Jacoba de Settesoli or Saint Clare. At the beginning of the Renaissance he was an important artist, who moved art away from an iconographic style towards something more fluid and realistic.
According to Thomas of Celano, Saint Francis once said to one of the friars, “I tell you the truth, dearest brother, I would not recognise any woman if I looked into her face, except two.” It is a mysterious statement of Saint Francis. Exactly who the two women were we are not told. It has left authors guessing for centuries and most have decided that these two women were Saint Clare of Assisi and Lady Jacoba de Settesoli.
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