This sculpture depicts Saint James the Major. He is dressed in a green tunic and covered with his capelet. He’s wearing a pair of boots. He has a fine nose and pinched lips. and a delicately wavy hair. His head is covered with a small square cap decorated with a stylized shell. He carries in his left hand an open book, the Gospels, and probably a staff (pilgrim’s stick) in his right hand. This element is now missing.
According to Spanish tradition, Saint James, one of the first disciples of Christ, would be responsible for the evangelization of Spain. Based on this legend, the monks of Cluny organised one of the most important pilgrimages in Europe form the 10th century. This pilgrimage had as its ultimate goal the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, where his bones would have been brought from Jerusalem.
His worship extended far beyond the borders of Spain and Saint James the Major was venerated by all Christendom from the Middle Ages. His cult was very present in France.
Louis RÉAU, Iconographie de l’Art Chrétien, III/2, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1959