New Plymouth born, Michael Smither studied art in Auckland at the Elam School of Art.
Smither took 12 years to complete his large painting of St Francis and the Wolf and then went on to create a series of reproduction prints of this work. It is based on the story of a lone wolf which terrorised the Umbrian town of Gubbio in 1220, attacking both livestock and people. The town appealed to St Francis of Assisi for help. The story goes that he went into the hills, met with the wolf and did a deal that the wolf would stop attacking the town and in return the people would feed him. Many artists have been fascinated by this story.
In keeping with the centuries old tradition of adapting religious stories to local settings, Smither has nestled the Italian pair beneath a border of New Zealand ferns.
A the time the large painting of this image came up for sale it was recognised as one of his most significant works, as not only did it express his spirituality, but it was also a statement on man and the environment.
Image Dimensions: 495mm W x 600mm H
Framed Dimensions: 860mm W x 1080mm H