Publisher's Comments (cont.)
Between 1225 and 1226, in the last year of his life, Francis of Assisi composed his celebrated "Canticle of the Sun" (also known as the "Canticle of the Creatures"), in which he gives voice to a feeling of appreciation for, and intimate closeness to, the sun, the moon, the earth, and all the elements of nature—which he addresses as "brother" and "sister." Frank Missant's extensive knowledge of the art and culture of the Italian Middle Ages enables him to convey the esthetic spirit of that period in his stunning calligraphic interpretation of this spiritual classic. Calligraphy (from the Greek for "beautiful writing") is an art where word and image meet, where the artist strives to give visual expression to the meaning of words in a way that transcends the text while remaining completely faithful to it. It is a discipline that has been invested with spiritual significance wherever it has arisen—and it has arisen throughout the world in every age, in virtually every language, culture, and religion. The Shambhala Calligraphy series is a collection of books devoted to contemporary expressions of this "art of the word," featuring contemporary calligraphers' striking new interpretations of texts that have been traditional subjects for calligraphic interpretation. Whether in Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, or Chinese pictographs, the characters, words, and sentences are brought to life anew here in a choreography of mind, hand, and heart by which letter and spirit fuse in a single stroke.