Friday, November 28, 2008

Saint James of the Marches

Francisco de Zurbarán (November 7, 1598 – August 27, 1664)
Saint James of the Marches (1391-1476)/ San Giacomo della Marca (1391-1476) 1658-9
Oil on canvas, 291 x 165 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Saint James of the Marches (1391-1476) (Italian: Giacomo della Marca) was an Italian Franciscan Friar Minor, preacher and writer. He is generally represented holding in his hand a chalice

His life is quite fascinating. See Wikipedia

James was buried in Naples in the Franciscan church of St. Maria la Nuova, but his body was moved recently to Chiesa del Convento di Monteprandone. He was canonised by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.

Naples, Italy venerates him as one of its patron saints.

Recently (1st to 3rd November 2008) his body which is preserved beneath an altar was subject to scientific investigation at the University of Pisa. (see pictures below)

The report of the investigation in Italian is here

It would appear that on his death, his body was embalmed by a meticulous process of conservation. Normally such techniques were only used for Kings and Princes.

He was 1.65 metres in height and despite his age, was apart from his last illness in a vigorous state of health accustomed to physical exercise.