James: Santiago Peregrino.
on the icon in memory of Stephen Badger
Confraternity of St James - London)
Confraternity's Treasurer and Librarian, Stephen
Badger, died very suddenly in November 1997.
he had been associated with the pilgrimages both
to Santiago and to Mount Athos, his friends in and
beyond the Confraternity commissioned this icon
of Santiago Peregrino, painted in the Orthodox style
by Sister Petra Clare of the Sancti Angeli Benedictine
now hangs in our refuge at Rabanal del Camino.
following notes on the design and meaning of the
icon were written by Sister Petra Clare. To see
more of her work, follow the link to her website
at the foot of this page.
icon depicts a central image of St James with scenes
from his life and subsequent scenes related to the
pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
scenes start on the left hand side facing, and move
in a counter clockwise direction to culminate at
the top, with the tympanum of the Cathedral in Santiago.
icon has a deep rose ground i.e. light red to indicate
a life crowned by martyrdom, so this rose light
pervades the icon.
there is a traditional iconic precedent, that form
has been used. This applies to the facial features
and clothes colouring of St James, and to the Gospel
James walks along the shore of the sea of Galilee.
clothes and scroll are typical of the traditional
icon of the Apostle, although the scroll is depicted
large, as it is in some Santiago pilgrimage images.
features of St James also conform to the iconic
tradition. It is common in icons to attempt to represent
the inner spirituality of the person in ways which
are sometimes non-realistic, hence certain proportions
may be emphasised.
I have used the dynamic of the pilgrim walk in St
James, whose body slopes forward eagerly in a diagonal
across the icon, and emphasised the head as a still
point - a kind of full-stop - to focus the image
on the call to follow him in the pilgrim way.
the image is for the pilgrims it seemed appropriate
to add a couple of signs of the context - the staff
and the marker stone.
like this are used in, for example, the icon of
John the Baptist, where one often sees 'the axe
laid to the root of the tree' in the background.
are frequently used in icons, and it is an appropriate
expansion of the theme of the travelling apostle
and the marker stone, which is based on the ones
along the Camino Francés.
call of James and John, who are in the boat with
their father Zebedee.
walks along the sea shore with Peter (younger, in
yellow) and Andrew (older, in green).
is always marked out by a halo with a cross in it,
on the arms of which are O'WN, Greek for “The Being”
(which refers to the name God gave in his vision
to Moses in the Old Testament), and by the letters
IC XC, an abbreviation of the Greek for Jesus Christ.
is depicted with Moses (right facing) and Elijah
are Peter in yellow looking upwards (a reference
to his active response “Let us build tabernacles”),
John falling downwards (an indication of his character
- being overwhelmed by the vision of God) and James
(somewhere between the two, in an attitude of adoration).
disciples follow St Peter who points to his head
and says "Lord wash not only my feet but my
hands and my head."
replies, "He who has his feet washed is clean
all over, but not all of you."
is identifiable by his usual clothes colours.
is identifiable by his profile (in iconic shorthand,
half-a-face shows he is not fully present to the
mystery, but alienated in some way)
Martyrdom of St James.
throne and Herod Agrippa on it follow the type used
in icons of the judgment of Christ.
soldier carries out the commands issued from the
to the Lord is indicated by the Saint's outstretched
hands towards the heavens in top left-hand (facing)
to the legend, the followers of the Apostle took
his body down to the sea and put it in a stone boat,
which was carried by angels and the wind to the
shores of Galicia.Three angels are shown, guiding
the boat.The boat on the sea pairs with the boat
on the sea of Galilee in the call of St James.
Discovery of the Tomb.
hermit, Pelayo, is led to the long-forgotten site
of the tomb by a star (the star is depicted according
to the type of the epiphany star on the nativity
Bishop who authenticated the tomb, Theodimir, is
shown with him.
miracle of the pendu dépendu.
German family (father, mother, son) stopped at an
inn, where the young man spurned the advances of
a serving maid.
hid a cup in his bag, and raised the alarm after
the family had left the following morning.
lad was duly caught and hanged for theft.
parents continued to Santiago, but were told by
St James when they got there that their son was
back they found the Saint holding up the young man's
rushed to the judge who had condemned him, and the
judge scoffed that the young man was “no more alive
than the two chickens roasting in his oven.”
birds promptly flew out of the oven, when all rushed
back to the scaffold to free the young man.
local saint, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, helped
St James to hold up the feet.
icon shows St James and St Domingo holding up the
feet of the young man while the two flying chickens
and the judge approach from one side, and the pilgrims
from the other.
James as Santiago Peregrino leads pilgrims to Refugio
Gaucelmo, the pilgrim refuge maintained by the Confraternity
of St James.
local hermit beckons the approaching pilgrims.
is to be hoped the pilgrims bear some resemblance
to the family of Stephen Badger, in whose memory
this icon is commissioned, and who was closely associated
with this refuge.
Peregrino leading pilgrims along the pilgrimage
route at Le Puy, represented by the chapel of St
Michel, on its rocky pinnacle, which reflects the
shape of the Mount of Transfiguration, on the other
side of the icon.
Peregrino leading pilgrims at Roncesvalles, symbolised
by the distinctive Silo de Carlomagno.
understand the tomb of Roland is also at Roncesvalles,
so a figure in armour appears rising from a tomb,
with his hands extended in supplication towards
are thus two soldier figures in the icon - one who
beheads St James, and one of more Christian disposition.
[The historic Roland is thought to have been buried
at Blaye - CSJ]
pilgrims approach the Porticó de la Gloria at Santiago
scene includes pilgrims in both modem and traditional
child (hopefully bearing some resemblance to Stephen’s
daughter) is putting her hand on the column with
the handprint on it, formed by the numberless venerations
of the statue of St James surmounting it.
top roundel replicates, as far as I could from photographs,
the iconography of the Porticó de la Gloria. As
I was not sure what filled the side roundels of
the cathedral I simply replicated the saints with
top section is painted on a gold leaf base to give
it a little extra warmth.
Linked Themes. Icons often feature linked
themes where the themes 'dialogue' with one another,
which is emphasised by similar compositions.
visual repetition helps to make a point and unify
themes here are:
the walking position of St James, in the central
and side icons, whether dressed as an Apostle or
as Santiago Peregrino.
the repetition of the walking position in the pilgrims,
which helps the composition remain calm, even with
the multitude of scenes and figures
beckoning gestures (9, 11, header) and showing gestures
(1, 2, 4, 6, header)
two boats (call of James and John, stone boat and
the Mount of Transfiguration and the rocky pinnacle
at Le Puy
St James and Roland, each in the tomb.
Architecture. Iconographic architecture is intentionally
usually has bold shapes and non-realistic colours
which indicate that it has a primarily spiritual,
rather than natural dimension.
tend to be representative signs rather than perspective
the Porticó is a schematic 'map' of the spiritual
reality it portrays i.e. Christ in Glory in Heaven.