Saint Andrew by Francois Duquesnoy
Saint Andrew by Francois Duquesnoy was created for one of the niches at the crossing of St. Peter’s Basilica. This artistic marble representation of Saint Andrew is one of the four larger-than-life statues which frame the Baldacchino in the transept of St. Peter’s Basilica. Each depicts a venerated relic, which at the time, was the property of the Pope and St. Peters. The statue of Andrew was created to honour the relic of the apostle’s skull.
Duquesnoy was disappointed when Bernini intrigued to have his statue of St. Longinus placed in the only corner that can receive direct rays of sunlight, enhancing the drama of Bernini’s sculpture. The is disappointment indicating that the sculptors of the four statues were competing for their reputation. Comparing Bernini’s and Duquesnoy’ statues we can see that in the St. Andrew sculpture the draperies fall vertically, while St. Longinus’ clothes inflate with energy. In further contrast, St. Andrew leans over the saltire cross of his martyrdom, while St. Longinus flings arms outward in response to divine influence. Both statues accentuate the diagonals.
Andrew the Apostle
Saint Andrew (late 1st century BC – mid to late 1st century AD) was a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name “Andrew”, like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews, Christians, and other Hellenized people of Judea. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. According to Orthodox tradition, the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople. In the Orthodox tradition, Andrew the Apostle is referred to as the First-Called.
Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece. Early texts describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified. Yet a tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on an X-shaped cross, now commonly known as a “Saint Andrew’s Cross”. Supposedly at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been. The iconography of the martyrdom of Andrew, showing him bound to an X-shaped cross, was standardised in the later Middle Ages.
Based on church tradition, Andrew’s remains were initially preserved at Patras. Shortly after that, most of the relics were translated from Patras to Constantinople by order of the Roman emperor around 357 AD. The skull of Saint Andrew, which had been taken to Constantinople, was returned to Patras by Emperor Basil I, who ruled from 867 to 886. In 1461, the youngest surviving son of Byzantine Emperor, who ruled the province of medieval Peloponnese, fled into exile in Italy, when the Ottomans crossed the Strait of Corinth. He brought with him what was purported to be the skull of Saint Andrew and gave the head to Pope Pius II, who had it enshrined in one of the four central piers of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Saint Andrew by Francois Duquesnoy was created to honour the relic of the apostle’s skull.
Sculptures of St. Peter’s Basilica
The Statue of Saint Andrew is one of the statues in the four central piers of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The four sculptures set in the niches of the four piers supporting the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica are:
- The Statue of Saint Longinus by Bernini shows the saint holding the spear that pierced the side of Jesus is one of these four statues. The sculptor, Bernini has depicted a dramatic narrative showing Longinus’ conversion. Bernini’s skill in manipulating marble ensured that he became a worthy successor of Michelangelo, far outshining other sculptors of his generation.
- Saint Andrew by Francois Duquesnoy depicts a venerated relic, which at the time, was the property of the Pope and St. Peters. The statue of Andrew was created to honour the relic of the apostle’s skull.
- Saint Veronica by Francesco Mochi depicted the frantic Saint Veronica displaying the Veil of Veronica and was created to honour the relic of the Veil of Veronica.
- Saint Helena carrying the True Cross and the Holy Nails was created to honour the relics of the True Cross and the Holy Nails.
The sculptor, François Duquesnoy was a Flemish Baroque sculptor who worked in Rome. His more idealised representations are often contrasted with the emotional character of Bernini’s works.
St. Peter’s Basilica
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, which is the papal enclave within the city of Rome. St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, a leading Apostle of Jesus and the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter’s tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica.
- St Andrew is not just the patron saint of Scotland. He is the patron saint of Greece and Russia.
- St Andrew is also the patron of singers, spinsters, fishermen, women wanting to be mothers, gout and sore throats.
- Which of these statues is the most expressive?
- Why were Greek names common among the Jews in Judea?
Explore Masterpieces of St. Peter’s Basilica
- Pietà by Michelangelo
- Saint Helena by Andrea Bolgi
- Saint Longinus by Bernini
- Saint Andrew by Francois Duquesnoy
- Saint Veronica by Francesco Mochi
- St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
- Title: Saint Andrew
- Artist: Francois Duquesnoy
- Year: (1629–33)
- Materials: Marble
- Museum: St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
- Name: Francois Duquesnoy
- Born: 1597 – Brussels
- Died: 1643 (aged 46) – Livorno
- Nationality: Flemish
- Movement: Baroque style
- Notable works:
“There are three classes of people: Those who see.
Those who see when they are shown.
Those who do not see.”
– Leonardo da Vinci
Photo Credit: By Use the force (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Jean-Pol GRANDMONT [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons; Francesco Mochi [Public domain];