Statue of St Roch

1401-1500 CE in Germany

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Statuette of St. Roch, wood, northern Germany, 15th century. Full view, graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Statuette of St. Rock, wood, northern Germany, 15th century

St Roch is the Catholic saint who has traditionally been invoked against the plague. He was said to be a Christian, born in the late 1200s, who went on a pilgrimage at the time of a plague epidemic. He helped nurse those with the disease and was believed to cure them of plague until he caught the disease himself.

To prevent the spread of the disease, he went to the woods alone. The story describes how a dog looked after him and brought him bread. As such, St Roch is almost always shown accompanied by a dog and pointing towards a plague bubo, which is clearly visible on his own leg.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Related people


Classical & Medieval Medicine
Object Number:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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