Francisco Antonio Vallejo, The Death of St. Francis Xavier

1764
Oil on canvas
Regional Museum of Querétaro, Mexico

As the placard in the lower left corner proclaims, Francis Xavier is known as the "Apostle of India," but his work also involved missions to Sri Lanka, Japan, and elsewhere in the far east. He was on his way to China when he took sick and died on the island of Sancin (modern Shangchuan).1 The seascape in the background of this painting speaks to his death on a distant shore, where the tall wooden cross represents his planting of the faith through missionary devotion symbolized by the torch, book, and crucifix.

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Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.











































1 Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "St. Francis Xavier."