Bartholomeus de Pisis
Bartholomeus de Pisis (1338–1401).
De conformitate vitae Beati Francisci ad vitam Domini Jesu.
Milan: Zanoto da Castiglione, 1513. (BRB0099)
This treatise describes the many ways in which the saintly conduct of St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) conformed to the life and teachings of Christ. The original manuscript of this work, presented to the Franciscan Order by the Franciscan friar Bartholomeus de Pisis in 1399, featured a full-page drawing of Christ crucified on the allegorical “Tree of Conformity.” That drawing, which bore brief explanatory texts defining forty similarities between St. Francis and Christ, was the source of the exhibited woodcut. In 1542 the Lutheran scholar Erasmus Alber (ca. 1500–1543) intentionally misread the book’s representation of St. Francis as a saintly reflection of Christ in order to ridicule the Franciscan Order for believing that St. Francis was the equal of Christ. For Catholic scholars, however, the book long remained a highly regarded compendium of Franciscan principles.