San José

  1. Arriba Cantero, Sandra de
Revista digital de iconografía medieval

ISSN: 2254-7312

Year of publication: 2013

Volume: 5

Issue: 10

Pages: 57-76

Type: Article

More publications in: Revista digital de iconografía medieval


The image of Saint Joseph is a paradigmatic example of iconographic evolution, as he will become Patron of the Church in 1870 after having been ignored during the first Christian centuries. The Medieval period will be the key of all that process. So, in a first moment, Saint Joseph will be omitted, hidden in a secondary plane or represented as an old man, in order to safeguard the purity of the Virgin. His presence will be restricted to those chapters of the Canonical and Apocryphal gospels related to Christ¿s life or Saint Mary's life. However, this situation will change in the Late Middle Ages, when the new devotional trend will stand for the idea of Saint Joseph as a young and handsome man, backed up on his hagiographic link with Joseph of Egypt. All these changes will be reflected on Art and Saint Joseph will get his own importance defining his two main iconographic types: the free-standing type and the "christophorus" type.