Saint James, by Pietro Novelli, called Il Monrealese (1603-1647).

Oil on canvas, 118cm by 96.5cm. In a carved and giltwood frame.

Saint James, sometimes known as James the Greater, is depicted with his pilgrim’s staff and scallop shell attached to his cloak.

He was one of the first of Christ’s disciples and the first to be martyred; put to the sword by King Herod.

The Sicilian artist was born in Monreale, from which his nickname is taken, distinguishing him from his artist father, Pietro Antonio Novelli, with whom he initially trained.

He later moved to Palermo where his work, and that of several other local artists would be influenced by an altarpiece painted by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) during a visit to the island in 1624.


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