Saint Malo

French (Normandy, from Harcouët [Calvados])
Medieval (Gothic)
second half of 13th century
Unidentified artist

Place of Origin: Harcouët (Calvados), Normandy, France


Overall: 147.3 x 50.8 x 31.8cm (58 x 20 x 12 1/2in.) Mount (Wooden pallet / 1/4" thick "Volara" pad(bolted-3/4" brass rod)): 10.2 x 63.5 x 71.1 cm (4 x 25 x 28 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone; limestone, microsparite, from Caen

On View

Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)





Holding a small model of a church or a reliquary in his hand, this smiling young man is Saint Malo, a sixth-century saint venerated in northern France, where a town on the Brittany coast bears his name. One tale associated with Saint Malo tells of him walking on water, which explains the representation of waves below the feet of this image. The monumentality of the figure and his lively expression give the sculpture a vivid presence.


Possibly the Castle of Harcouët, Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët, Calvados, France [see note 1]; between 1918 and 1939, removed from Harcouët and sold in Paris to Sidney Burney, London [see note 2]; sold by Burney to John Hunt, Dublin; 1954, sold by John Hunt to the MFA for $9,835. (Accession Date: December 9, 1954)

[1] When the sculpture was acquired it was said to have come from Saint-Hilaire-du- Harcouët. Hanns Swarzenski of the MFA visited the town and was told that it had been in the castle chapel until it was shipped to Paris after World War I. See "A Masterpiece of Gothic Sculpture," MFA Bulletin 54, no. 295 (Spring 1956): 8. [2] See Swarzenski (as above, n. 1): 9.

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund