Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Saint James the Greater

Artist:
Gil de Siloe (Spanish, active 1475–1505)
Date:
1489–93
Geography:
Made in Burgos, Castile-León, Spain
Culture:
Spanish
Medium:
Alabaster with paint and gilding
Dimensions:
Overall: 18 1/16 in. (45.9 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Stone
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1969
Accession Number:
69.88
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 16
In 1486, Isabel of Castile, patroness of the explorer Christopher Columbus, commissioned an elaborate alabaster tomb for her parents, Juan II of Castile and Isabel of Portugal. This star-shaped tomb, still standing in the center of the church of the Carthusian monastery of Miraflores, outside Burgos, was made between 1489 and 1493 by Gil de Siloe, a sculptor thought to be of Netherlandish origin. This statuette of the patron saint of Spain is known from old photographs to have been originally placed near the head of the queen. The soft, translucent quality of alabaster provides an ideal medium for the artist's penchant for beautifully articulated drapery folds and facial details, which still bear traces of gilding and paint. Saint James is portrayed here as a pilgrim: a person who makes a journey to a sacred place as a holy act. As a traveler, he is shown well equipped with a staff, purse, water gourd, and traveler's hat, whose upturned brim is adorned with a scallop shell, the emblem of his shrine at Santiago de Compostela. Medieval pilgrims would similarly place such badges on their clothing to indicate the number of holy shrines they had visited.
From the tomb of Juan II of Castile and Isabel of Portugal in the Cartuja de Miraflores, outside Burgos, Spain; Conde de las Almenas, Madrid ; his sale, American Art Association, New York (January 13, 1927, lot 361) ; Reginald de Covan, New York ; André Tressley, New York (sold 1969)
de Dios de la Rada y Delgado, Juan. "Sepulcro de Don Juan II en la Cartuja de Miraflores de Burgos." In Museo español de antigüedades. Vol. 3. Madrid, 1874. p. 322.

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García de Quevedo, Eloy. "Una estatua de la Cartuja de Miraflores." Boletín de la Comisión Provincial de Monumentos Históricos y Artísticos de Burgos 13, no. 49 (1934). pp. 125-32.

Wethey, Harold E. Gil de Siloe and His School: A Study of Late Gothic Sculpture in Burgos. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936. pp. 31-2, pl. 8.

Gómez-Moreno, Carmen. Medieval Art from Private Collections: A Special Exhibition at The Cloisters, October 30, 1968 through January 5, 1969. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1968. no. 56.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ninety-Ninth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1968-1969." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 28, no. 2 (October 1969). p. 85.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art) no. 1965/1975 (1975). p. 151.

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Gómez Bárcena, María Jesús. Escultura gótica funeraria en Burgos. Burgos: Excma. Diputación Provincial, 1988. p. 212.

Wixom, William D. "Medieval Sculpture at The Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 46, no. 3 (Winter 1988-1989). p. 58.

Young, Bonnie. A Walk Through The Cloisters. 5th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988. p. 136.

Pushkin Museum and State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-prikladnoe iskusstvo ot pozdneĭ antichnosti do pozdneĭ gotiki: Iz sobraniĭ muze︠i︡a Metropoliten, Nʹ︠i︡u Ĭork i Khudozhestvennogo Instituta, Chikago. Moscow: Pushkin Museum, 1990. no. 81, p. 14.

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Pereda Espeso, Felipe. "El cuerpo muerto del rey Juan II, Gil de Siloé, y la imaginación escatológica (Observaciones sobre el lenguaje de la escultura en la alta Edad Moderna)." Anuario del Departamento de Historia y Teoría del Arte 13 (2001). p. 56.

Jiménez-Blanco, María Dolores, and Cindy Mack. Arte español en Nueva York: Guía. Madrid: Hispanic Society of America, 2004. p. 113.

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Martínez Ruiz, María José. "Las aventuradas labores de restauración del Conde de las Almenas en la Cartuja de Miraflores." Goya 313/314 (July - October 2006). pp. 290, 299-300, fig. ill. p. 293.

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Sandoval, José. "El "Santiago" de Gil de Siloé en Manhattan y en la Cartuja de Miraflores." Peregrino: Revista del Camino de Santiago 149 (2013). p. 9.

Kasl, Ronda. The Making of Hispano-Flemish Style: Art, Commerce, and Politics in Fifteenth-Century Castille. Me fecit. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. pp. 134-35, fig. 87.



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