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St. James Major

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    after 1510 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving in ink on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 14, box C

Like his contemporary, Albrecht Dürer, Lucas van Leyden was internationally recognised within his lifetime and beyond. Giorgio Vasari, writing in 1568, praised Leyden's fine engraving style and his use of perspective. Fine quality early impressions of his prints are rare. Copper printing plates are capable of producing only one or two hundred fine impressions before the plate starts to wear down, especially with a fine line engraving style as Leyden's. Such was Leyden's reputation and his prints so sought by collectors that his original printing plates were kept and impressions taken from them long after his death, resulting in a larger number of surviving poor and worn impressions than fine ones. Numerous copies were also made from his originals, which satisfied demand when originals were not available or affordable and for collectors of images interested more in subject matter.

Physical description

St James stands facing left. He holds a staff, tied to the top of which is a bag. He has a large halo, long straggly hair and beard and holds a hat in his left hand. He wears a cloak over a long coat and three-quarter length tunic.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (possibly, made)


after 1510 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraving in ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Artist initial inscribed on plate, bottom left


Height: 12.9 cm cut to, Width: 8.3 cm cut to, Height: 11.7 cm platemark, Width: 7.25 cm platemark, Height: 28.2 cm card backing, Width: 23.1 cm card backing

Descriptive line

Engraving, St. James Major, from the series of fourteen prints of Christ and the Apostles, copy after Lucas Hugensz van Leyden (called Lucas Jacobsz).

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bartsch, Adam von. Le Peintre Graveur. Leipzig, J.A. Barth, 1854-1876.
The New Hollstein: Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts, 1450-1700. Roosendaal. Koninklijke Van Poll in cooperation with the Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1993-
Cornelis, Bart and Jan Piet Filedt Kok. The taste for Lucas van Leyden prints. In: Simiolus - Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art. 26: 1/2 (1998).


Ink; Paper



Subjects depicted

Tunic; Staff (symbolic); Halo; Bags (costume accessories); Cloak; Coat; Hat


Prints; Christianity

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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