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Ignatius the founder of the famous congregation known under the name of the Society of Jesus, was born in the castle of Loyola, in 1491, and at first was page to king Ferdinand V. Having embraced the military profession, he remained in it till the year 1521; but being seriously wounded, he employed his time, during his convalescence, in studying the Lives of the Saints, and subsequently determined to devote himself entirely to the Virgin. The remainder of his life was wholly consecrated to pious practices, the details of which would be very long.

Rubens' talent is here displayed in its highest point, representing St. Ignatius exorcising a Demoniac: the foreshortenings are every where of the utmost boldness, with none of those swells or exaggerations often found in that painter's works. The composition is most learned, the lights are of a firm body of colour, and the shades are transparent. It is one of the few pictures entirely finished by Rubens.

The painter was commissioned to do this picture to adorn the Jesuits' church at Antwerp, as also the St. Francis Xavier, previously given in this collection, under no. 658. It is affirmed that he was obliged to do it in less than a month, receiving in payment 100 florins for each day's labour. In 1774, the Empress Maria Theresa wishing to have this picture and its companion sent Joseph Rosa, the director of the Vienna Gallery, to Antwerp, and the purchase was made, at the rate of 38,000 franks, or L. 1520, for each.

This picture has been engraved by Marinus and by S. Langer.

Height 18 feet; Width 13 feet 3 inches.

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