early 18th century
Master of "La Merced"
carved and painted wood 14 1/2 x 5 3/4 x 3 in. (36.8 x 14.6 x 7.7 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Teodoro Vidal Collection
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 21B
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Luce Center Label
Saint James the Great, commonly known as Santiago, is the patron saint of Spain. According to legend, he appeared miraculously to liberate Spain from the Moors and is often represented on horseback carrying a banner. He is closely identified with his shrine at Spain’s Santiago de Compostela, the destination of medieval pilgrims from across Europe. Christians wore the cockleshell, seen on the shoulder of this santo, to identify themselves as pilgrims on the dangerous journey to James’s shrine. The saint welcomes his devotees with one arm clasped to his chest and the other extended to embrace a weary traveler.
Religion - saint - St. James