Constructing a Saint Through Images: The 1609 Illustrated Biography of Ignatius of Loyola

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9780916101589: Constructing a Saint Through Images: The 1609 Illustrated Biography of Ignatius of Loyola
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In 1609 Pope Paul V beatified Ignatius of Loyola. To celebrate the event and to promote devotion to Ignatius, the Jesuits in Rome produced a small-format volume of 81 copper-plate engravings depicting his life. It was the most elaborate such saint's life ever produced and among the most elegant. The engraver was the distinguished Jean-Baptiste Barbe, a Fleming residing in Rome, who enlisted his fellow countryman, the young Peter Paul Rubens, to contribute drawings for the project. Aside from brief captions identifying the scenes, the book is without text.

2009 is the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Vita beati patris Ignatii Loiolae. For the occasion Saint Joseph's University Press has produced Constructing a Saint Through Images, which includes a facsimile edition, with English translation of the captions by James P.M. Walsh, S.J., and an introduction by John W. O'Malley, S.J. entitled "The Many Lives of Ignatius of Loyola, Future Saint."

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About the Author:

John W. O'Malley, S.J., is University Professor at Georgetown University, and author of "The First Jesuits" (Harvard University Press, 1993), among many other titles. He is co-editor of "The Jesuits and the Arts 1540-1773" (Saint Joseph's University Press, 2005). Fr. O'Malley is also editor of the new series, "Early Modern Catholicism and the Visual Arts," published by Saint Joseph's University Press.

James P. M. Walsh, S.J., is Associate Professor of Theology at Georgetown University.

Review:

This English edition of the Vita P. Ignatii Loiolae Societatis Iesu Fundatoris is without doubt an extraordinary contribution to knowledge about the iconography of St. Ignatius in the English-speaking world. [...] Like other publications by Saint Joseph s University Press, this book excels in the perfect reproduction of the engravings, enriched with the introduction, filled with historical and artistic insights, by John O Malley, S.J. --Fernando García Gutiérrez, S.J., Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu

In his richly rewarding introduction, John O Malley explores the early Jesuits obsession with producing accounts of Loyola s life. [...] The Vita is a profoundly important work. As well as having a major impact on future Jesuit iconography, it had considerable artistic merit, derived not only from the engravings of Jean-Baptiste Barbé but also from the fact that drawings by Peter Paul Rubens (at the beginning of a life-long association with the Jesuits) also seem to have been involved. [...] This is a handsomely-produced volume. The reproduced engravings exactly reflect the size of the originals and James Walsh s translations of the Latin captions are excellent: accurate but not stolid. --Jonathan Wright, Renaissance and Reformation

It was to celebrate [Loyola s] beatification that the Jesuits published the Vita beati Patris Ignatii Loiolae in 1609 the illustrated biography that has now been aptly published by Saint Joseph s University Press in Philadelphia, itself a Jesuit foundation. [...] [I]t is a volume that in these days of inflated prices for art historical studies, is remarkably inexpensive and nicely produced. The eighty-four plates are prefaced by a succinctly written introduction by John W. O Malley, S.J., in which the history of the book and biographies of Ignatius are discussed. --Colum P. Hourihane, Sixteenth Century Journal

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