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On the way to discovering St. James through the art works to be seen in the City Museum of Antique Art



Home / idee / On the way to discovering St. James through the art works to be seen in the City Museum of Antique Art

Art and culture

In the City Museum of antique art's exhibition rooms: a way to discover the works of art that depict St. James himself, or that are linked to his cult.

There are 16 of them – paintings on various mountings, sculptures and jewellery as well as items of minor arts, of different dates and of difference provenance; the works of art of the City Museum of Antique Art offer an all-embracing view of St. James’ iconography over the centuries. Thanks to these works, you can get to know images and their history, to understand how, over the years, Pistoia art has represented the figure of the saint, you can delve into his century-old ties to the city and get to know more about the tradition of pilgrimages.

Just to mention one of the many masterpieces on show here……the extraordinary and highly original painting by Bernardino Detti, known as the ‘Madonna della Pergola’ (1523) – photo below, detail – in which the Patron Saint of Pistoia is shown at the front to the right of the painting, with very realistic traits and features in his face (it may be a portrait), in his hands and with his usual characteristic attributes, painted with extreme care paid to each detail: the pilgrim’s staff with its seashell hanging on a hook; the book of the “Epistole” – the “Epistles” – the cardinal’s hat on which you can see a porcupine’s quill (symbolizing the protection the Faith can give) and devotional souvenirs of the places of cult worship visited during the pilgrimage.

For the whole of the St. James’ Jubilee Year, the works of art connected to its theme – now exhibited in the ‘Palazzo Comunale’s’ entrance and in the Museum’s rooms – will be pointed out with new captions and subtitles and with the Jubilee Year 2021/2022 logo. Moreover, at the Museum’s ticket office, you will find a new leaflet entitled “Here’s St. James, the Patron Saint of Pistoia” – you can download it from the City Museum’s website – which is a guide that will be useful to you during your visit.

At present, another two important testaments of St. James’ cult in Pistoia are being restored: two paintings on contoured boards, carried out by unknown 17th century artists, depicting St. James and the Saint Atto. Next autumn, when the restoration will have been completed, the two works of art will be returned to Palazzo Giano so that they can be exhibited in the great hall on the top floor of the City Museum.