Saint Ercolano and Saint James the Greater – Musée des Beaux-Arts – Lyon

The work, tranferred to France during the Napoleonic requisitions and currently preserved at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, was part of the Polyptych of Sant’Agostino, a majestic double-sided polyptich commissioned by the Augustinian friars and realized in two different phases by Perugino.

The table portraits Saint Ercolano and Saint James the Greater and, according to the reconstruction, it was placed in the front of the Polyptych (the execution therefore dates back to the decade 1502-1512), the part towards the nave of the Church, on the right of the central panel depicting the Baptism of Christ: the two saints are in fact facing left, ideally attending the scene taking place in the center.
Saint Ercolano is praying, with his hands joined, while the pastoral (the symbolic stick with a curved tip typical of the bishops) is gently leaning on his side; on the top on the stick, a small banner on which is represented a griffin, symbol of the city of Perugia. Next to him Saint James the Greater holds a book in his hands, the stick stuck under his left arm.
The robes of both saints are richly draped and decorated, and the dense colors strongly stand out against the shaded landscape that can be seen behind them. As in the case of the panel depicting Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Augustine of Toulouse, the lack of space around the two saints is unusual for Perugino; the panel was probably cut, perhaps during the dismemberment of the altarpiece in 1648.
The panel is preserved at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon.