Iconography of Saints on the Apse in Cefalù Cathedral The Apse Mosaic at Cefalù Cathedral: Detail – Saints on the Left of the Central Window

Mark Matthew Peter
Philip James Andrew

12th century
Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Cefalù, Sicily

All the figures but Mark are apostles. Most of them are identifiable only by their labels, but Peter is balding and has a square beard, as traditional, and Andrew has his customary wild hair.

Andrew's slender processional cross may also be intended as an attribute, referring to the manner of his death (and echoing Peter's cross just above him). Eastern icons sometimes have him with this kind of cross, Western representations less frequently. The icons often have Andrew blessing the viewer with his right hand, which is sometimes held as here, palm-out and with the middle and ring fingers held together. Usually, though, he holds his hand in one of the configurations used for the Sign of the Cross, with the thumb touching one or Read more about the other fingers (as exemplified by the blessing gestures of Mark and Philip in this image).

The complete composition, including the six on the other side of the window, has only one "James," as if that one name were to cover both James the Greater and James the Less. By having one less James among the apostles and ignoring Matthias and Jude Thaddeus, the artist frees up three of the twelve spaces for Mark, Luke, and Paul.

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Read more about St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. Peter, St. Philip, St. James (the Greater), St. James (the Less), and St. Andrew.

Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.