Recent Acquisitions: Unknown Roman, St. Francis Borgia,  about 1700

Posted on January 01, 2008 by Kristin Swan

Hood Quarterly, winter 2008

Rome was the European center for bronze sculpture production throughout the baroque era. The precise identity of the individual responsible for the design and execution of this noteworthy statue remains unknown, but the remarkable quality indicates someone well-versed in the Roman artistic traditions of this period. It bears the distinctive facial characteristics of St. Francis Borgia (1510–1572), the third Father General of the Jesuits, who was canonized in 1671 as only the third representative of the Order to be declared a saint. The figure wears a chasuble to celebrate mass, adapted from the iconography of the Order's founder, St. Ignatius Loyola (1491–1556). He most likely held a crucifix in his left hand, and his proper left foot rests on an overturned crown, symbolizing Borgia's abdication of the Duchy of Gandia in order to enter the Society of Jesus. Specialists have praised this piece's variety of surface textures and naturalistic appearance.

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Written January 01, 2008 by Kristin Swan