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The Saints In Art - I

( Originally Published 1908 )

IGNATIUS LOYOLA, ST. (the Founder of the Jesuits). (31st July)

Born in Spain in 1491, he became a page at the Court of King Ferdinand. He entered the army, but was severely wounded in 1521, and his career was entirely changed. After a period of penance and visions, he under-took a course of study in preparation for preaching. While at Paris he formed a community with five associates, who bound themselves, besides the usual vows, to preach and teach in any part of the world to which he might send them. After some years his institute was confirmed by the Pope, under the name of the "Society of Jesus." He became the first General of his Order, died in 1556, and was canonised in 1622.

Necessarily he only appears in pictures of the declining period of art. He is represented in ecclesiastical dress, the monogram of his Order (I.H.S.) being introduced, or its device, the heart crowned with thorns.

IGNATIUS THEOPHORUS, ST. (Bishop of Antioch in the time of Trajan). (1st February)

He was a friend of Polycarp, and, according to legend, both were disciples of St. John the Evangelist. There was a tradition that he was the child that CHRIST "set in the midst" of his disciples. When Trajan came to Antioch, he ordered St. Ignatius to sacrifice to his gods, and, on his refusal, had him brought in chains to Rome, and thrown to the lions in the amphitheatre.

He is represented as a Greek bishop, and generally suffering martyrdom.

ILDEFONSO (or ALPHONSO), ST. (the Patron

Saint of Toledo). (23rd January)

A Benedictine monk, who became Arch-bishop of Toledo in 657. He wrote in defence of the perpetual virginity of the Madonna, who therefore regarded him with special favour, and is said to have appeared to him in a vision, seated on his ivory throne in the cathedral, and, as he knelt before her, placed upon his shoulders a chasuble or cassock of heavenly tissue.

The investiture of St. Ildefonso is a favourite subject with Spanish artists, and is represented by Sodoma in S. Spirito, Siena. (See also ST. LEOCADIA.)


ISIDORE, ST. (Ital. SANT' ISIDORO AGRICOLA ; Span. SAN ISIDRO EL LABRADOR) (the Patron Saint of Madrid.) (15th May)

He worked as a ploughman for a hard master, who, it is said, went one day into the field to reprimand him, and found him on his knees praying, while two angels guided the plough.

He is represented in Spanish pictures with a spade or a plough.

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