Saint Ignatius of Loyola
c. 1620-22
Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640)
On View

Among Rubens’ works devoted to religious subjects, the representation of saints plays an important role. Rubens created an artistic language fully adapted to the Counter-Reformation movement, which stressed the heroic, emotional and ascetic aspects of the saints’ lives. This depiction of St. Ignatius of Loyola was painted for the mother church of the Jesuit order in Rome, Il Gesù.

The founder of the Jesuits wears a brocaded chasuble and gazes ecstatically to the viewer’s right, where beams of heavenly light break through the clouds. His right hand is raised in a gesture of admonition; his left hand holds a copy of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, with a page open to their famous motto: “To the greater glory of God.” Ignatius, painted to be seen from below, is presented as a Christian hero, full of Baroque sentiment designed to strengthen worshippers in their belief and spur them to emulation.

Details

  • Artist Name: Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640)
  • Title: Saint Ignatius of Loyola
  • Date: c. 1620-22
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 88 x 54-1/2 in. (223.5 x 138.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1975.03.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Il Gesu (Church of the Jesuits), Rome, until the late seventeenth century.
The Jesuit Church, Brussels (sale, Brussels, Lannoy, 12 May 1777, lot 2, sold to);
Donckers.
George Greville, 2nd Earl of Brooke and Warwick, by 1798.
By descent to Charles Guy Fulke Greville (1911-1984) 7th Earl of Warwick, Warwick Castle sale, (Sotheby's, London, 11 Dec. 1974, lot 36);
Norton Simon Art Foundation.
Anonymous, L'Art Flemand dans les collections Britanniques et la Galerie Nationale de Victoria, no. 66
Smith, John, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters, vol. 2, p. 51; vol. 9 (1842), p. 258
Scheelen, W., Konindlijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Jaarboek, pp. 153-172
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Cohen, A.; R. Cohen, E. Young and E. Cohen, Trafalgar Galleries at the Royal Academy II, p. 13
Evers, H. G., Peter Paul Rubens, pp. 493, no. 187
Field, William, An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town Castle of Warwick; and of the Neighbouring Spa of Leamington, pp. 186-188
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Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America, pp. 242, 370
Rooses, Max, L'Oeuvre de P. P. Rubens Historie et description de ses tableaux et dessins, pp. 285-286, no. 449
Goede, Christian Augustus Gottlieb, England, Wales, Irland und Schottland; Erinnerungen an Natur und Kunst aus einer Reise in de Jahren 1802-1803, pp. 281-282
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Bauman, Guy; and Walter A. Liedtke, et al., Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America, p. 364, fig. 424
Dillon, E., Rubens, p. 237
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Passavant, J., Kunstreise durch England und Belgien, p. 219
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 1119 p. 373
Vlieghe, H., Saints II [Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Buchard, Part VIII}, vol. 2, part 8, pp. 68-71, no. 113, fig. 36
Scannelli, F., Il Microcosmo della pittura, p. 205
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Burchard, Ludwig, Actes du XIIe Congrés International d' Histoire de l'Art, pp. 127-128
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Additional Artwork by Artist

David Slaying Goliath Peter Paul Rubens c. 1616
Meleager and Atalanta and the Hunt of the Calydonian Boar Peter Paul Rubens c. 1618-19
Portrait of Anne of Austria, Queen of France Peter Paul Rubens c. 1622-25

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