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Reliquary Bust of Saint Francis Borgia (1510-1572)

Artist/maker unknown, Spanish

Made in Spain, Europe

c. 1624-1650

Wood with painted and gilt decoration (estofado)

24 5/8 x 18 1/8 x 8 1/2 inches (62.6 x 46 x 21.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 358, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Fiske Kimball Fund, 1993

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Francis Borgia (Spanish, 1510-1572), great grandson of Pope Alexander VI and grandson of King Ferdinand of Aragon, became a monk in 1551 and rose to be the third head or general of the Jesuit order. The “B” on the base of the bust refers to the beatification of Borgia that took place in 1624. He was canonized as a saint in 1670. The central cavity--now empty--was originally intended to hold a relic.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.