Apostle St James Junior
Author: Smuglewicz Franciszek, 1745 - 1807
Created: late 18th century.
Material / technique: oil on canvas.
Dimensions: 107x77 cm.
Apostle James the Less is a saint, one of the twelve apostles who played an important role in accepting new Christians to the community of believers. He suggested a compromise for the pagans who became new Christians – not to observe the ritualistic Judaic oaths. The apocrific gospel which extols the chastity of the Blessed Virgin Marty is attributed to James the Less. The most important work is considered a general letter which belongs to the New Testament canon, which emphasises the importance of testifying the Christian faith with one’s life, because faith without good works is allegedly dead. James the Less is considered to be a cousin of Jesus Christ, therefore is portrayed like him. His attribute is a club, with which he was killed.
James, son of Alphaeus, was born in the land of the Jews and was a saint from an early age /.../. Having heard Jesus preach the Gospel, James was immediately drawn to him and did not leave him until Jesus’ death.
As a saint man he was much respected and loved, therefore the Saviour appeared before him soon after His Resurrection. /.../ Finally, Jews themselves called this apostle, a great and very sacred man, as a fair man. He was allowed to enter the third part of the church in Jerusalem when he wished. The high priest could enter this part only once a year. They respected him as much as they could and always gave him the prime place and people considered themselves happy if they could touch his garment.
/.../ They immediately sent their servants to the entrance to the church, they took hold of St James’ legs and he fell onto the ground. The old man was badly injured, broke his ribs, and while still alive he raised his hands and said, ‘Lord, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ Despite this, unkind Jews grabbed stones and started throwing them at the saint. One priest protested saying, ‘What are you doing, the fair man is praying for you.’ Meanwhile some Jew jumped at St James and started hitting his head with a stick until his head cracked open and his brain scattered over the people standing around. This is how the life of the Lord’s apostle ended. His body was buried near the church in Jerusalem. (Motiejus Valančius, „Žyvatai šventųjų“, Raštai 2, 2006, p. 129–133)
Reference: "The Lithuanian art collection of Jaunius Gumbis". Museum and Collector - 6. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2016, P. 232.
Published: "The Lithuanian art collection of Jaunius Gumbis". Museum and Collector - 6. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2016, P. 233.