Saint Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Order being approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. As the saint would not allow himself to be portrayed in life, several wax copies were made of the funerary mask, one of which It was brought to Spain and would be the source for the portrait made by the painter Alonso Sánchez Coello in 1585, of which he would make sixteen more copies, the engraving made in 1597 by Pedro Perret, at the request of Ribadeneyra himself, and the engraving made in 1580 by Jan Sadeler.

Those portraits were the basis for the recreation of Saint Ignatius of Loyola made by Gregorio Fernández for the Jesuit school of Villagarcía de Campos (Valladolid) on the occasion of the saint’s beatification in 1610, where he is presented dressed in the black Jesuit habit and holding the book. of his Constitutions, of which in 1614 he would make a mimetic version for the old Colegio de la Compañía de Jesús de Vergara (Guipúzcoa), a polychrome work by Marcelo Martínez that is perfectly documented.

However, the image of Saint Ignatius of Loyola made for the Jesuit center of Valladolid in 1622 differs from those in some elements. His composition is more open, as he has both arms raised, holding in the left the model of a classicist temple, as a symbol of the founder of an ecclesiastical order, and carrying a Jesuit symbol in his right hand.

In the image of Our Lady of the ancient one, like that of Valladolid, the work of the head is truly extraordinary, carved separately from the body, and fitted by means of stems, with the characteristics of an authentic portrait that could have been taken from a of wax masks. Very round in shape, he has a pronounced baldness, a wide forehead and a very morbid face, carved with great softness, with emphasized veins at the temples and skin wrinkles highlighted on the eyelids.

The obsession with greater naturalism is evident in the incorporation of false elements, such as the glass eyes, with the gaze directed upward, to which is added the crown in the shape of a radiating diadem that is inserted into a slot made in the skull.

We do not know who the author of the polychrome is, with nuances typical of an easel painting on the head, with pink parts and an incipient beard, as well as a showy border that runs along the mantle.

Title: Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Authorship: Valladolid school – Gregorio Fernández or workshop.

Topics:  Religious / Iconography of saints / Saint Francis Xavier

Date: first half 17th century

Techniques: Polychrome Carving

Dimensions:  Height: 175 cm Width: 70 cm Depth: 70 cm

Materials: Pine Wood

Location: Church of the Royal College of Nª Sª de la Antigua – Monforte de Lemos – Lugo

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