Reliquary bust Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

UnknownLate 17th century

Museum Of Christian Art, Goa

Museum Of Christian Art, Goa
Old Goa, India

The iconography of St Aloysius Gonzaga (a Jesuit saint) is sometime confused with that of St Francis Xavier. Though beatified before the latter, he was only canonized in 1726; by then the white lily had practically disappeared from representations of St Francis to reappear in those of St Aloysius, who had died in a state of sanctity at the age of twenty-three, while aiding victims of the plague.
In this polychrome and gilt wood-sculpted reliquary bust, St Aloysius Gonzaga wears his Jesuit habit and is shown as a grown man, whereas it would be historically more correct to show him as a bearded youth. His age was indeed one of the factors taken into consideration when Pope Benedict the XIII proclaimed him the patron saint of young students just three years after his canonization; two centuries later (1926), another pope made him the patron of Christian youth.


  • Title: Reliquary bust Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Late 17th century
  • Physical Dimensions: 46 x 27 x 15 cm
  • Provenance: Old Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus
  • Medium: Sculpture, Polychrome and gilt wood

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