Object Record

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Catalog number 59.134
Title Figure of Papal saint
Object Name Figure, Religious
Description This elaborately dressed male figure has been identified as a papal saint. He is in the midst of offering a blessing to his viewers, as is evident in the gesture of his right hand; his left would have most likely held a crosier or staff. The papal tiara he wears evolved from a pointed round cap in the 11th century to the ornate triple-crowned headpiece in the 16th century, with variations still being used by the papacy today. Spain had great interest in the artistic styles of Northern Europe, including the continuation of some medieval themes. Visual representations of saints both in painting and sculpture continued to be popular through the early modern period. 1500-1599 AD

The continuity of medieval influence is evident in the popular medium of painted wood sculpture. The papal saint bears striking resemblance to a Catalonian sculpture of Saint Peter as first pope from 1300-1450 in which the figure is in a similar pose. In both instances the function remains the same: a follower would pray to the represented saints in the hope that they would serve as intercessors between the parishioner and the holy figures of God, the Virgin, or Christ. We, as humans, are not seen as worthy to speak directly to them, but due to their holy status the once-mortal saints have the ability to speak for us. This sculpture functions in the same way as the two reliquaries nearby in this exhibition (cat. nos. 5 and 6). The papal saint might not hold the same awe or mysticism, due to its lack of any bone fragment or cloth that would have been housed in the reliquary. But it still would have been sufficient to allow the faithful to have a visual point of reference to the intended saint. Unfortunately, it is not known specifically whom the figure is meant to represent.
Anthony DelAversano, in "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010.
Medium/Material Wood/Paint/Gold Leaf
Dimensions H-43.5 W-10.5 inches
Year Range from 1500.0
Year Range to 1600.0
Search Terms Medieval
Iberian Peninsula
16th century AD
New Testament
Exhibition and Publication History *"Queens College Art Collection," 1960, #238.
*"Director's Choice, Part I," G-TM, 4/17-6/1/02, #104. Amy Winter, Curator.
* "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," Curated by James M. Saslow, G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, # 4, ill.
Culture Spanish