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Apotheosis of an ecclesiastic. Oil painting.

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Credit: Apotheosis of an ecclesiastic. Oil painting. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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The iconography is confused. Some of the attributes are papal: upper right, the keys and a mitre with the triple crown; left, the crozier. On the other hand, he is not wearing papal robes, or the habit of any identified religious order, and the motto "Praesidium et decus" was not the motto of any pope

It has been suggested that this is a portrait of Saint Ignatius Loyola, with the Trinity and the Virgin in the clouds, repainted as a portrait of Pope Leo XII (1760-1829). The Turk in a turban shown in the lower left, representing heretical Muslims crushed by Christianity, is derived from the ceiling painting by Andrea Pozzi in the Church of Saint Ignatius in Rome (Leonrad von Matt and Hugo Rahner, St Ignatius of Loyola, London 1956, plates 220-222 between pages 102 and 103)

Physical description

1 painting : oil on canvas ; canvas 60.2 x 48.3 cm


Præsidium et decus


Wellcome Library no. 44815i


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