Lot #022

San Roque

19th Century
Fruitwood, Possibly Santol
H:24 1/2” x L:6 1/2” x W:6 1/2” (62 cm x 17 cm x 17 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 40,000
HP + BP : Php 93,440
St. Roch of Montpellier, better known locally as San Roque, was the son of the noble governor of that city. His birth was accounted a miracle, for his mother had been barren until she prayed to the Virgin Mary. When his parents died in his twentieth year, he distributed all his worldly goods among the poor like Francis of Assisi and set out as a mendicant pilgrim for Rome. Arriving in plague-stricken Italy, he diligently tended the sick and is said to have miraculously cured many by prayer, the sign of the cross and the touch of his hand. While ministering at Piacenza he himself finally fell ill and was expelled from the town. He built a hut in the forest, where a spring of water miraculously spurted beside his hut. A dog came daily to supply him with bread and licked his wounds, healing them. He returned incognito to Montpellier, where he was arrested as a spy and imprisoned for five years. He died soon after without revealing his name, to avoid worldly glory. Upon his death, the townspeople recognized him by his birthmark, a large cross upon his breast, and soon canonized him in the popular mind. He became one of the most popular saints in Europe, especially after the Black Death pandemic that reduced the population of Europe by 30-60%. He was often prayed to during the Spanish colonial era, whenever a member of the family was sick.
This statue of San Roque was made by a provincial sculptor from fruitwood, most probably santol. It is primitively carved and portrays the saint with a stocky body and a grossly attenuated head in comparison to its body. The image is clad in a short tunic belted at the waist with a rope and wears a short cape. He has a pouch slung across his shoulder and holds a staff in his left hand. His right forefinger is shown pointing to a wound at his right thigh
-Martin I. Tinio, Jr.