BACICCIO (GIOVANI BATTISTA GAULLI)
Vision of Saint Ignatius at La Storta, about 1684-85
Oil on canvas
Charlotte E. W. Buffington Fund
This painting is thought to be a model for a large altarpiece intended for Sant' Ignatio, one of the major Jesuit churches in Rome. The final commission, however, appears never to have been completed. Appropriately the subject represents a key event in the life of Saint Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuit order. In 1537, while on his way to Rome, Ignatius had a vision in which God the Father and Christ instructed him to establish a religious community in that city. The Jesuit order grew dramatically, helping to spread the influence of the Catholic Church around the world during the late sixteenth and seventeenth century, the period of the Counter Reformation. It was toward the end of that time that Baccicio became one of the most prominent painters in Rome. His skill at depicting mystical visions make him one of the masters of Italian Baroque art.