The facade you are gazing up at dates from the 18th century, and it was designed like a monumental altarpiece in honour of the apostle. It has four sections and is 68 metres high. At the top of the façade, if you look carefully, you will see a small open-air aedicule, from which St. James, dressed as a pilgrim and surrounded by angels, stands welcoming pilgrims. At the foot of the image, two noblemen holding sceptres are kneeling submissively. They symbolize Spanish monarchs’ veneration of the saint.
Underneath, on the next section of this altarpiece, are James’s loyal disciples Athanasius and Theodore, also dressed as pilgrims. In the middle, underneath the image of the saint, we can see a medallion, blurred with green mould, decorated with the heads of angels holding an image of the stone chest that contained the apostle’s body.
Now look at the foot of the towers, where you will see two figures standing in arches. The one on the left is the apostle’s father, Zebedee, who was a wealthy fisherman. On the right is a carving of his mother, St. Salome, by Gregorio Fernández.
On the balustrades underneath these two figures is St. Susan, who is the joint patron of the town, along with St. James. She shares a balustrade with St. John, St. James’s younger brother.
On the other tower are St. James the Lesser and St. Barbara, who is holding the tower in which she was locked up and made a martyr. She is shown here because she fends off storms and protects the building from lightning. Although it has to be said that she has been known to fail several times…
(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Diego Laforga Marcos
Source: Own work
Author: Diego Laforga (2013)
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