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Saturday 11 June 2022

Francesco Corsi’s engraving “St Luigi Gonzaga”, early 1800s

Francesco Corsi (fl.1800–1850)

“St Luigi Gonzaga” (aka “S Luigi Gonzaga Angelio in Carne”), early 1800s, interpretative engraving of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (aka Luigi Gonzaga; St Louis Gonzaga) (1568–1591), possibly after the portrayed head of the saint shown in the same direction in Hieronymus (Jerome) Wierix’s (1553–1619) engraving, “Saint Louis de Gonzague (Saint Aloyius Gonzaga)”, c1610, (Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1219 [Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1978, “Les Estampes Des Wierix”, vol. 2, cat. no. 1219, (text) p. 219, (ill.) p. 161]) after the intermediary design by Luisa Corsi (born 1830). Note that the inscription in the plate at lower left advises: “L'originale existe nel Collegio Romano” (The original exists in the Roman College).

The British Museum offers the following biographical details regarding the portrayed saint: “Jesuit Saint, born from the noble family in Castiglione, near Mantua. Entered the Society of Jesus in Rome 1585. His spiritual director was Roberto Bellarmino. Renowned for his austerity and early vocation. Was beatified by Pope Gregory XV in 1621. Canonised 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. Died very young and is buried in the Church of Sant'Ignazio, Rome” ( See also the marvellous account of the saint’s life offered by the website “THE JESUITS”:

Engraving on laid paper, a small margin at the top and sides and trimmed along the platemark at the lower edge, backed with a support sheet. Below the image borderline is a dedication to Signor Canonico who I understand is a member of the Florentine Rosselli del Turco family whose patron is the portrayed saint (my apologies if this is inaccurate). I understand that Pier Francesco del Turco was the saint’s teacher when he attended the Roman College (Collegio Romano).

Size: (sheet) 34.1 x 27.4 cm; (plate) 32.2 x 24 cm; (image borderline) 27.2 x 21.5 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “Luisa Corsi dis./ L'originale existe nel Collegio Romano”; (centre) “S. LUIGI GONZAGA ANGELIO IN CARNE/ All' Iltimo: e Revmo. [coat-of-arms with motto “IN MEDIO VIRTUS”] Signor Canonico/ Vincenzo Rosselli […] gia Del Turco/ Agnato di Pier […] Francesco Del Turco/ Ajo del medesimo Santo.”; (right) “Franco. Corsi inc./ Francesco Corsi D.D.D.”

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression with a small margin around the top and sides, but trimmed along the platemark on the lower edge. There is a significant restored tear crossing the writing edge, marks in the margin and a minor abrasion below the saint’s nose. The sheet is laid onto a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this sensitively and very beautiful engraving of a exemplary young saint—a student of great wealth, privilege and heir to the title of the Gonzagas family famous as patrons of Renaissance artists—who cared for and carried plague victims from the street even though he knew he would die for his selfless sacrifice, for AU$227 (currently US$160.14/EUR152.13/GBP130.10 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this serene study of a young saint, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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