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.


  • 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);
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.

L'Art flamand dans les collections brittaniques et la Galerie National de Victoria

  • Musée Communal Groeninge, 1956-08 to 1956-09

[on loan]

  • Richmond, Virginia, Museum of Fine Arts, 1975-08-13 to 1976-01-15

Art Treasures of the United Kingdom

  • Manchester, 1857-05-20 to 1857-10-17

Reinstallation of Galleries: Art History of the 17th and 18th Century Gains Fresh Dimension

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-09-02 to 1995-08-13
  • Mensaert, Guillaume Pierre, Le Peintre Amateur et Curieux, ou Description générale des tableaux des plus habilles maîtres, 1763, p. 42
  • Decamps, Jean-Baptiste, Voyage Pittoresque de la Flandre et du Barbant, 1769, p. 64
  • Michel, J. F. M., Histoire de la Vie de P. P. Rubens, Chevalier, & Seigneur de Steen, 1771, pp. 69-70
  • Gentleman's Magazine, 1798, p. 836
  • Goede, Christian Augustus Gottlieb, England, Wales, Irland und Schottland; Erinnerungen an Natur und Kunst aus einer Reise in de Jahren 1802-1803, 1804, pp. 281-282
  • Field, William, An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town Castle of Warwick; and of the Neighbouring Spa of Leamington, 1815, pp. 186-188
  • Smith, John, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters, 1830, vol. 2, p. 51; vol. 9 (1842), p. 258
  • Passavant, J., Kunstreise durch England und Belgien, 1833, p. 219
  • Passavant, J., Tour of a German Artist in England: With Notices of Private Galleries, and Remarks on the State of Art, 1836, p. 83
  • Waagen, Gustav, Kunstwerke und Kunstler in England und Paris, 1838, p. 367
  • Waagen, Gustav, Kunstwerke und Künstler in England und Paris, 1838, p. 367
  • Waagen, Gustav, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, 1854, pp. 214-215
  • Burger, W., Trèsors d'Art Exposés à Manchester en 1857, 1857, p. 195
  • Rooses, Max, L'Oeuvre de P. P. Rubens Historie et description de ses tableaux et dessins, 1888, pp. 285-286, no. 449
  • Dillon, E., Rubens, 1909, p. 237
  • Burchard, Ludwig, Actes du XIIe Congrés International d' Histoire de l'Art, 1930, pp. 127-128
  • Guide to Warwick Castle Collection, 1931, p. 49
  • Greville, Elfrida Marjorie, Countess Brooke and Countess of Warwick, Warwick Castle. A Brief Account of the Earls of Warwick, together with a Description of Castle and Some of the More Notable Works of Art therein (1930-1931), 1938, p. 50
  • Evers, H. G., Peter Paul Rubens, 1942, pp. 493, no. 187
  • Puyvelde, Leo van, Rubens, 1952, pp. 206-207
  • Anonymous, L'Art Flemand dans les collections Britanniques et la Galerie Nationale de Victoria, 1956, no. 66
  • Grossmann, F., The Burlington Magazine, 1957, p. 6
  • Puyvelde, Leo van, Gazette des Beaux Arts, 1959, pp. 231-232
  • Brussels, Musees Royaux de Beaux Arts de Belgique, Le siècle de Rubens, 1965, p. 188
  • Lesuisse, R., Annales de la Societé Archéologique et Folklorique de Nivelles et du Barbant Wallon, 1966, pp. 281-317
  • Vlieghe, H., Saints II [Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Buchard, Part VIII}, 1973, vol. 2, part 8, pp. 68-71, no. 113, fig. 36
  • Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America, 1979, pp. 242, 370
  • Farington, Joseph, Diary of Joseph Farington, 1979, p. 1588
  • Cohen, A.; R. Cohen, E. Young and E. Cohen, Trafalgar Galleries at the Royal Academy II, 1979, p. 13
  • Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum, 1980, p. 47
  • Scheelen, W., Konindlijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Jaarboek, 1986, pp. 153-172
  • Buttery, David, Antique Collector, 1988, p. 42
  • Jaffé, Michael, Catalogo Completo Rubens, 1989, p. 189, no. 203
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 40
  • 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, 1992, p. 364, fig. 424
  • Liedtke, Walter, Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America, 1992, fig. 424 p. 364
  • Roethlisberger, Marcel and M. J. Bok, Abraham Bloemart and his Sons. Paintings and Prints, 1993, vol. I, pp. 434-435, CAT. C27; vol II, p. 253, fig. 541pp. 434-435; p. 253
  • Scannelli, F., Il Microcosmo della pittura, 1996, p. 205
  • Morris, Michael, O.P., Magnificat, 2003, pp. I-VI
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1119 p. 373
  • Sauerlander, Willihald, Der Katholische Rubens. Uber die Heilifien und Martyrer, 2011, Fig. 29 p. 87
  • Sauerländer, Willibald, The Catholic Rubens: Saints and Martyrs, 2014, 29 p. 84
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Autograph Letter (Written in Secretary's Hand in Dutch, Signed by Rubens on Verso) Peter Paul Rubens 1618
David Slaying Goliath Peter Paul Rubens c. 1616
Meleager and Atalanta and the Hunt of the Calydonian Boar Peter Paul Rubens c. 1618-19

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