Saint James the Young

Saint James the Young Pulse para ampliar Saint James the Young

El Greco (1541-1614)

  • CE00012
  • c. 1608-1614
  • Oil on canvas

Cousin if Christ, Saint James the Younger became the head of the Christian church in Palestine afther Saint Peter went to Rome. Because of this he is sometimes represented with episcopal garments, as well as a crosier. He is also sometimes represented with the curved mallet of his martyrdom, but in this case he is represented with a book, making his identification complicated.

With his right hand ha makes a conversational motion towards his right.

Throughout the 16th century we find in Toledo interesting pictorical representations of the 12 apostles. These creations started with the predella of the main altarpiece in the church of Saint Andrew, a work signed by Juan de Borgoña and Antonio de Cremontes, in which the apotles are depicted half-length, in an attitude of dialogue and with a golden brackground. In El Greco's last years the artist renewed the meaning of these series and turned them into a novel production that was no longer destined to occupy a place in the altarpieces. He designed 13 individual paintings with the images of Christ the Saviour and the 12 apostles, cut out on neutral backgrounds, endowed with monumental form and psychological expresiveness. The apostles are covered with tunic and cloak and are accompanied by identifying attributes of each character. In addition to these attributes, El Greco envisaged, for each apostle, chromatic combinations for their clothes and their own gestures that would become codes of identification of the characters.


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