Dec 23, 2008

The Battle of St. James the Greater at Clavijo

The Battle of St. James the Greater at Clavijo


attributed to Martin Schongauer

(German, c.1450–1491)


Sheet: 28.9 x 43.3 cm (11 3/8 x 17 1/16 in.)

Gift of Ralph King 1924.213

Catalogue raisonné: Lehrs V.376.1

State: I/II


Did you know?

In this unfinished plate, the shield in the right foreground, the fallen horse at the bottom left, the points on the lances of the soldier in the upper left corner, and the hilly landscape are all details left uncompleted.


According to legend, in 846 A.D. during a battle in Clavijo, one of the Christ's apostles and the patron saint of Spain, Saint James the Greater, miraculously appeared on the battlefield and helped the Christian armies of the Spanish king Ramirez defeat Muslim forces. Martin Schongauer portrays the climax of the battle, as Saint James appears on his steed at the center of the scene amidst gruesome beheaded corpses and dismembered limbs. The saint is brandishing a sword and wearing a scallop shell on his hat--an emblem adopted and worn by pilgrims during their travels to James's burial place, the Spanish Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Gift of Ralph King

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