WOODEN RELIEV, SAINT JAMES “MATAMOROS”, 17TH CENTURY.

Antiques - Sculpture
Reference: Z5263

Relief in carved wood, Santiago Matamoros. XVII century.
A male figure raises his right hand while controlling the horse on which it is mounted. At the feet of the equine, several men appear lying down, kneeling ... exhibiting gestures of pain.
The rider is Santiago, identified by his pilgrim hat and by the shells that adorn this garment and the cape that he wears. Santiago de Zebedeo, also called Santiago el Mayor, was one of the Apostles of Jesus and is recognized by the pilgrim outfits and the scallop shells in relation to his tomb in Compostela. Iconographically, one of the ways in which it can be presented is known as "Santiago Matamoros" or "in the Battle of Clavijo": the Apostle would have appeared to King Ramiro I in his dreams, advising him to start the fight against the Muslims in Clavijo (La Rioja), alleged confrontation that would have taken place in 844 and justified the so-called Vote of Santiago. Although it seems that this battle would be included in the chronicles from Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada around 1243 and was not real, it gave rise to one of the best known representations of this Martyr (he died beheaded by order of the King of Judea Herod Agrippa I in Jerusalem and his disciples brought his body to Spain).
The figures located at the feet of the saint are defeated Muslims, identified by their turbans, their physical appearance and the quarter of crescent moon that adorns the shield that one wears. Although the saint would not have really intervened in the fight, he has always been represented by taking part in it as a victorious rider, with his sword held high and fighting. Its popularity increases significantly since the second half of the fifteenth century, to be used as an emblem of the struggle (and victory) of Catholicism against all its enemies: Turks, heretics, etc.
The present work was part of an altarpiece dedicated to the Apostle, hence the back has not been carved. It is necessary to emphasize the quality of the size and the movement that the main figures present, as befits the time in which the work was carried out. The dovetail that joins the two boards that make up the relief are a sample of the carpentry tradition of the sculptors of the Baroque and usually does not appear in view, being hidden by polychrome."


· Size: 60x20x94 cms.

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