Saint Roch’s celebrity derives from his reputation for curing victims of plague, having himself been miraculously cured of the disease. His representation here is in keeping with his legend: the wealthy native of Montpellier wears clothing that is richly colored and patterned with gold, and also the broad-brimmed hat of a religious pilgrim en route to Rome (symbolized by the crossed keys). On his thigh is a bulbous open sore indicative of plague. At his side is the loyal dog that helped nurse the saint back to health by bringing him bread and licking his sores. The saint once held a walking stick.
Saint Roch’s fame endured well beyond the first outbreak of plague in the mid-fourteenth century. Indeed, the elaborately painted costume and accurately rendered anatomy of this image herald the Renaissance.
#74. Saint Roch
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