The Vocation of Saint Aloysius (Luigi) Gonzaga

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) Italian

Not on view

This altarpiece was commissioned for the Theatine church of Guastalla in 1650 by Duke Ferrante III Gonzaga (1618–1678) in celebration of Luigi Gonzaga (born 1568), who resigned his inherited title of marquis and joined the Jesuit order in Rome in 1585. He devoted himself to the care of the poor until he died of the plague in 1591. He was beatified in 1621 and canonized in 1726. In Guercino’s painting, an angel holds over the saint’s head a wreath that replaces the crown, symbolizing the marquisate, that has been cast aside on the ground next to a sheaf of lilies representing chastity.

The Vocation of Saint Aloysius (Luigi) Gonzaga, Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Italian, Cento 1591–1666 Bologna), Oil on canvas

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