Friday, June 22, 2012

St Aloysius Gonzaga

Angelo Bacchetta
(1841 - 1920), 
A Study of St Aloysius Gonzaga
Pencil on brown paper
250 mm x 330 mm
Museo Civico di Crema e del Cremasco, Crema

Bacchetta was a noted painter of historical scenes and had many ecclesiastical commissions in the north of Italy in or around the area of Crema, near the area of Mantua where the family of St Aloysius Gonzaga came from and where there was and still is a strong devotion to the saint

Girolamo Tomasi  (1751 - 1795)
St Aloysius Gonzaga in meditation
OIl on canvas
41 x 55 cm
Galleria Tadini, Lovere

Again in this work from Lombardy from whence the saint hailed we see a convincing and life like picture of the saint devout and in prayer. It is an image of a real young man full of character and not that of a plaster saint we often see in the images of the saint in the United Kingdom. there is not a lily in sight unlike the paintings and sculptures of the saint which often grace British churches and which often remind one of someone who has just attended a 19th century meeting of Oxford aesthetes chaired by William Pater or Aubrey Vincent Beardsley

Innocenzo Migliavacca (1785 -1855)  Carlo Maria Viganoni (1786 - 1839),
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
c 1849
Lithograph Print
32,8 x 39 cm 
Musei Civici di Lecco, Lecco

Again another realistic work from  Italy which expresses the adamantine nature of  the aith held by a young man of exceptional courage

Saint Aloysius was born of the noble Gonzaga family which was of Spanish origin. he was born in the small town of Castiglione delle Stiviere near Mantua in Northern Italy

It is in this small town that a Church was erected to honour the saint. The Church has a sanctuary in honour of him and the Church was made a Basilica in the twentieth century

The saint was originally buried in Rome but after canonisation the head was removed and has been placed in the sanctuary. See below

Relic of Saint Aloysius in Santuario basilica di San Luigi Gonzaga,  Castiglione delle Stiviere

Above the relic is the work of Balestra (below)

It depicts the devotion of the Saint to the Blessed Mother, a devotion traditionally promoted vigorously by the Jesuit order. St Aloysius would have been no different

Balestra was born in Verona and worked in Verona as well as Venice. He has in receipt of many commissions from the Jesuit order. His work is perhaps too staid, Baroque  and classical for modern tastes

Antonio Balestra (1666 - 1740) 
San Luigi Gonzaga in preghiera davanti alla Vergine / St Aloysius Gonaga in prayer before the Virgin (1734),
Oil on canvas
Santuario basilica di San Luigi Gonzaga,  Castiglione delle Stiviere

Antonio Balestra (1666 - 1740) 
Study for San Luigi Gonzaga in preghiera davanti alla Vergine / St Aloysius Gonaga in prayer before the Virgin (1745), now in the  Santuario basilica di San Luigi Gonzaga, Castiglione delle Stiviere
Black chalk, pen and brown ink, grey wash in an inscribed arch 
290 x 174 mm
Private collection

The sanctuary of St Aloysius is in the Diocese which was recently badly hit by an earthquake. The website of the sanctuary is here  and is attached to the Diocese of Mantua website  If he was still here, no doubt St Aloysius would have been one of the helpers in the earthquake zone.