The Cartegloria of S. Ignazio from the Altar of St. Ignatius in the Gesu, Rome

The Gesu (or more properly the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus) in Rome is well enough known to many of our readers. It is the mother church of the Jesuits in Rome and one of the foremost examples of a baroque church in the Eternal City. One of the most famous altars found within this church is not the high altar, but rather the altar of St. Ignatius which includes a concealed statue of St. Ignatius::

Associated with this altar are the "Cartegloria of S. Ignazio" -- the altar cards that were made specifically for this particular altar. These were designed by the German artist Johann Adolf Gaap who was active in Italy during the years 1667-1724. This particular work of his dates to 1699 and are comprised of silver, gilt bronze, lapis lazuli, and glass. 

Today we offer our readers a closer look at this beautiful set. Attentive readers will note how the colours of the cards align to the altar of S. Ignatius itself with its blue, gold and silver. The cards also feature the Holy Name (as one might expect here) and are 'framed' by two angels, each holding up an instrument of the Passion of Christ (the spear of the Roman soldier which pierced Christ's side, and the sponge of gall and vinegar which Christ was offered on the Cross). 

In a time of mass produced liturgical art, one can only be inspired by the thought and creativity which went into every aspect of liturgical art in times such as these.  We would do well to try to reclaim at least some part of this in our own age. 

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