Stories of Saint James the Great

Milan Duomo Stained-glass window V10

Stories of Saint James the Great (1562/1566) by Corrado de MochisVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Four decorative paintings representing Bishops, the Madonna, and Christ open the narration dedicated to the stories of Saint James the Great, in Milan Cathedral window V10.

The window was offered by Pope Pius IV, maternal uncle of St. Charles Borromeo, in memory of his brother Gian Giacomo Medici Marquis of Marigliano, called "Medeghino"; fighter and captain who died in battle.

Monument to Gian Giacomo Medici, detailVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Stories of Saint James the Great (1562/1566) by Corrado de MochisVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The execution of the artwork was entrusted to Corrado de Mochis from Cologne and was made between 1562 and 1567 in the southern transept of MIlan Cathedral.

Altar of Pope Pius IVVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The window is located nearby the Altar described as that "of San Carlo".

Stories of Saint James the Great (1562/1566) by Corrado de MochisVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The episodes develop on several registries in double orders of panels. This was a new innovation of the revamped cultural climate of the time and was strongly influenced by the artistic language of Michelangelo, with Nordic touches.

We are in Palestine: the first register depicts the Dispute between Saint James and Fileto, disciple of the wizard Hermogenes, sent to rebut his ideas.

The confrontation has an unexpected outcome: Fileto is beaten by James. Hermogenes cannot endure this type of affront and has him captured so that he does not revert to sainthood.

The conversion is just taking place: a shroud bearing the face of Christ, sent by James to remind him of his recent conversion, is shown to Fileto in his cell. Nothing can be done against the power of faith.

Filete is miraculously freed by Saint James, meanwhile Hermogenes calls on demons to take the Saint prisoner. The panels depict a ruthless fight.

The breathless devils are enveloped in flames and beg Saint James to free them from the torment of the fire.

The narrative tension increases, James orders the devils to tie up Hermogenes.

Saint James is brought face to face with the priest Abiathar, who has him arrested.

He is inexorably condemned to death in the presence of Herod Agrippa. While the Saint is being taken to be tortured, on the way he meets a paralytic and miraculously cures him.

The window concludes with the martyrdom of Saint James, who is beheaded together with Josiah.

The stained-glass window panels are dominated by red and blue tones and  also enriched by varnish, and grisaille is used with an uncommon expressive power.

Read more on Milan Cathedral Remixed.

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