Saint James at the Battle of Clavijo, c. 1470-1475


Bequest of Herschel V. Jonesexpand_more  P.68.260

James, one of Christ’s apostles, looms large in Spanish lore and is the country’s patron saint. According to one legend, Saint James, who had died in 44 CE miraculously appeared 800 years later at the Battle of Clavijo to lead Christian troops to victory over a much larger Muslim army. Charging on horseback, he brandishes his sword and wears a hat sporting a scallop shell, symbol of the countless pilgrims who still travel to venerate his grave at Santiago de Compostela. The fictional battle was believed by many to be an actual historical event and the pivotal moment in the expulsion of Muslims from Spain. The theme reflects anxiety about the Ottoman empire’s incursions into Europe.

This engraving, designed and perhaps begun by Schongauer, was executed by an engraver whose touch was less sensitive and adroit. The image was left unfinished, as seen in the rump of the fallen horse at lower left.

Saint James at the Battle of Clavijo
Artist Life
c. 1440/53–1491
Accession Number
Rev. John Griffith (L.1464); H. J. Brooke (L. 1324); Bammeville; Wm. Od---g (L. Suppl. 2805)
Catalogue Raisonne
B.53; L.V.376.I i/ii (school)
Curator Approved

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