Kneeling knight

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I found myself immediately drawn to this work in alabaster, by an unknown hand, about an unknown subject. The notes provided by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston gave the Spanish work a simple descriptive title, “Kneeling knight,” but almost everything about it–except for the missing sword, which was sheathed in its scabbard–reminded me of St. Ignatius at Manresa. The noble bearing and the pose of supplication, the military attire and the look of prayer, the sense above all that we have intruded into a scene where a life is being dedicated to some ideal: it all seemed Ignatian to me. The museum dates the sculpture to c. 1600, which is (it occurred to me when I read it) just about right. It was created about two generations after Ignatius’s death, but at a time when the romance of knights errant still rang true.

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