July 31st is the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), the Spanish soldier-turned-priest, who, in 1539, founded the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits. He died in Rome on July 31st 1556, and was canonised on March 12th 1622. He is interred in the Chiesa del Gesù, the mother church of the Jesuits.
The chapel in the left transept of the church is dedicated to St Ignatius. The altar is railed off by one of the most beautiful creations in bronze of the late Baroque, which was designed by Fra' Andrea Pozzo, modelled by Pierre Le Gros the Younger, and cast by Carlo Spagna.
A multitude of putti (all, bar one, with their modesty subtly preserved) frolic between the ornate lamps. One putto holds a reference to the ‘Spiritual Exercises’ of St Ignatius, a highly popular series of meditations and prayers, which he composed between 1522 and 1524.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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