17th Century Carved Relief of Saint James, Lifesize
A very fine large Baroque relief of Saint James carved in the manner of François Duquesnoy. The bust carved of linden wood mounted on an oak oval. Saint James shown wearing his scallop shell attribute.
24 in.H x 21 in.W x 2.5 in.D
61 cmHx53 cmWx6 cm D
François Duquesnoy (January 12, 1597-July 12, 1643) was a Baroque Franco-Flemish sculptor in Rome. His more idealized representations are often contrasted with the emotional character of Bernini's works, while his style shows greater affinity to Algardi's sculptures.
The scallop shell is the traditional emblem of James and is popular with pilgrims on the Way of St James to the apostle's shrine at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Medieval Christians making the pilgrimage to his shrine often wore a scallop shell symbol on their hat or clothes. The pilgrim also carried a scallop shell with him, and would present himself at churches, castles, abbeys etc., where he could expect to be given as much sustenance as he could pick up with one scoop. Probably he would be given oats, barley, and perhaps beer or wine. Thus even the poorest household could give charity without being overburdened. The association of Saint James with the scallop can most likely be traced to the legend that the apostle once rescued a knight covered in scallops. An alternative version of the legend holds that while St. James' remains were being transported to Spain from Jerusalem, the horse of a knight fell into the water, and emerged covered in the shells.