LE GROS, Pierre the Younger
(b. 1666, Paris, d. 1719, Roma)

St Aloyzius Gonzaga in Glory

1698-99
Coloured marble relief with bronze, marble and silver setting, height c. 900 cm
Sant'Ignazio, Rome

Le Gros's relief was inspired by the Ecstasy of St Catherine of Siena by Melchiore Caffa. This offered the ideal pattern for a meditative image, eminently suitable in the case of Gonzaga, the young Jesuit saint who was often invoked as an example of youthful piety. Like its prototype, Le Gros's relief is exquisitely modulated though here the colour is confined to the surrounding gilt bronze, the four twisted columns of green marble, and the lapis lazuli and other coloured stones of the grandiloquent altar by Andrea Pozzo. The figure of the saint has been brought forward and is accompanied by clouds and angels.