The Jesuits were established by Saint Ignatius Loyola (1491.1556) in 1541, under the approval of Pope Paul III, the same Pope who would convene the Council of Trent (1545-1563), where they played a major part in planning the Catholic Counter Reformation.
Ignatius of Loyola wounded as a young general
heroically defending Pamplona against French soldiers
The Reformation of the Catholic Church envisioned by Pope Paul III and the Jesuits was all-encompassing, with profound changes on Liturgy, Arte Sacro. The Baroque style was born, and would become very popular in Rome at the beginning of the 17th Century
Two churches in Rome that became emblematic of this style were San Ignazio and Il Gesu. The Baroque Style was championed in sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), and in architecture by Francesco Borromini (1599-1667).
La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi di
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
During this period, many great painters became part of this Baroque movement in Rome during the first half of the 17th century, possibly the most famous of them all being Caravaggio (1571-1610). However, even more than the genius of Caravaggio, for the Jesuits the guiding principles of this new art style of the Baroque were put down by one of their own: Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709), a lay-brother of the Company of Jesus, born in Trento.
Il Gesu, RomeAndrea Pozzo was a master stage-designer, architect and painter. Besides all these fields, Andrea Pozzo was a master theoretician on art, as he made patent in his "Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum" (1693). He applied these principles to the vault of San Ignazio, together with his techniques of the quadratura and trompe l'oeif.
The wooden altar frame of the
Church of Saint Francis Xavier
designed by Miguel Cabrera
Martin Cabrera, as the foremost confident of the Jesuits in the 18th Century after the death of Cristobal de Villalpando, will become their protégé, in charge of using the precepts of Andrea Pozzo on the vault of the Church of San Francisco Xavier in Tepotzotlan.