Flying buttress figurine: James the Lesser

copy of flying buttress statue of James the Lesser in Muschelkalk limestone

Two Jameses

The next flying buttress figurine of St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem was one from the series of apostles of arc no. 16. It represents a heavily built man with a club. This could either be Judas Thaddeus, or James the Lesser. He was called the Lesser because he became an apostle later than James the Greater. The other James was, along with his brother the apostle and evangelist John, a son of Zebedee, a fisherman. They were inspecting their nets when Jesus arrived and asked them to become fishers of men.

Brother of the Lord

copy of flying buttress statue of James the Lesser in Muschelkalk limestoneBut James the Lesser was called "brother of the Lord". Then how is that possible? Well, according to the Medieval stories, that everyone knew in those days, the carpenter Joseph had been married before and he had a number of children from that marriage, but his wife had died. He was a widower when the young girl Mary (Miriam) came to live under his protection. She took care of the children, and especially James was very fond of her because he was very young when he lost his mother. Maria was about 14 years old when she came out from the temple protection to live with Joseph . Her father and mother, Joachim and Anna, had miraculously been gifted child in their advanced age and therefore entrusted her to God as a temple maiden. So she was brought up very pure and trained in high spiritual knowledge.

When she was 16 years old, she suddenly turned out to be pregnant and Joseph wanted to distance herself from her, but the angel confided to him that she was carrying a great miracle. He decided to marry her. Mary became the mother of Jesus, and James grew up with him. He was at least seven years older, but was among his most faithful disciples.

Club

copy of flying buttress statue of James the Lesser in Muschelkalk limestoneThe club that the apostle James carries with him shows a different way of thinking that was common in the Middle Ages. Emphasis was placed on the suffering and martyrdom of Jesus and of his apostles and saints, therefore, the club with which he was put to death was given a prominent place in the depictions of James. Now this is not a Medieval statue at all, but made in 1956 by Eduard van Kuilenburg. In the Dutch language book on the sculpture of the Eusebius Church Elisabeth den Hartog and Ronald Glaudemans write that the themes for the sculpture were presented by Arnhem city archivist Mr Schaap. That could explain why Van Kuilenburg gave the saints such traditional attributes.

Traditionally, James the Lesser was sometimes depicted with a fuller's stick instead, a heavy piece of wood that was used to felt wool, because he was supposedly been beaten to death with it. So who else could have become the patron saint of all wool felters other than James? Those inimitable twists of thoughts of those Medieval people though…

Today we would be more interested in the life and works of such an apostle than in his martyrdom. The lurid details and emphasis on martyrdom for the Church are definitely from another time.

 

on to the next flying buttress figurine→

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

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A small sandstone head for Eusebius

row of 9 heads in the Eusebius Church. In front is a head of a woman with hood
A small head in Udelfanger sandstone

I had a small job in December for St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem (the Netherlands) again. High in the upper side wall of the south transept are 9 small heads embedded inside the wall. Three of those are old heads, which were made in the Middle Ages, four are from the 50s of the twentieth century, and one head is missing. I was asked for one …Read the whole article…

And the book was won by….

this book offered in a contest and goes to ....

this book could be won and goes to….

Those who regularly follow the posts on this blog already know: a book was offered for winning. And how did the contest go?? Well, I must say that the response wasn't really overwhelming: four people have dared to submit a comment. The advantage though is that it will be a lot easier for me to choose the winner. …Read the whole article…

win the Complete book of Sculpture!

The complete book of sculpting-13 May 2016; the book by now has been won by Paul

-list of Sculptor's Supplies Shops in the Netherlands added below-

-Sorry folks, this is only for Dutch language readers... It's about this book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sculpture-Stone-Cami-Santamera/dp/0764154249.- For a number of times now I've been recommending a particular book for beginning sculptors on this blog, as excellent teaching material to learn how to transfer your design onto in a block of stone, whether enlarged or not (here, here, here and here for example). …Read the whole article…

Ten tips-2: from design to stone

Ten tips for beginning sculptors-2: from design to stone

← Click here for the first ten tips for beginning sculptors in stone-

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stone statue in the making and model. Click image for link to the first article on this sculpture

Readers of my blog may know it already: I have a thorough dislike of measuring. By measuring I mean taking a distance with a ruler or a tape measure, then remember that and reproduce it on the block of stone. …Read the whole article…

Ten tips-1: techniques

Tips for beginning sculptors in stone-1: technique

When I first wanted to learn to carve in stone I had trouble finding someone who could teach me this thoroughly. That was, of course, in the time before the internet, around 1990. Now, it's become a lot easier; just type in as a keyword that you want to sculpt in stone and you'll find loads of courses and holiday weeks . Unfortunately, not every teacher is equally aware of the technical aspects (there are still a lot of courses for rasping in soapstone) and neither does every aspiring sculptor have an appetite or time or money for a course. The following 'tips for beginning sculptors in stone’ should help you well on the way. …Read the whole article…

A set of corbels for the Eusebius Church

corbels for the tower of St. Eusebius' ChurchThe St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem (the Netherlands) has been clad in scaffolding for a number of years now, and now the time has come to tackle the sculptured parts.

I was asked to copy the first tuff stone pieces from the fifties in new Muschelkalk limestone. …Read the whole article…

Copying points with a pointing machine

pointing machine with wooden cross and brass needle

← to the first post about this project

The footprints I am copying on the black granite padukas are a great project to explain how the process of sculpting works in general. For a sculptor the process is self-evident, but from the questions I often get, I notice that many people do not know how to get from an idea to a stone statue. Often they think I'll pick up a chisel and hammer and start hammering away. …Read the whole article…

Recommendations for enthusiastic sculptors

For the one who wants to learn sculpture in stone, nothing beats doing it yourself. But if you want to deepen your knowledge, then these books can be useful to learn sculpting: …Read the whole article…