Saint Ferdinand: The Iconography

In Seville, Spain, St. Ferdinand III, King of Castille and Leon, known as a saint for his outstanding virture. Famous for his zeal at spreading the Faith, after defeating the Moors he left this earth and ascended joyously to the Kingdom of Heaven. – Roman Martyrology for May 30

In the 13th century Ferdinand III of Castille united his realm with that of León and proceeded to conquer most of the Muslim areas of Spain. Pope Clement X canonized him in 1671. He was a third-order Franciscan, but he is not pictured in the habit of that order.

PORTRAITS

In the statue at right we see Ferdinand's most common attributes: a sword, a crown, and a mappa mundi A globe representing the Earth, with one horizontal band dividing the upper and lower hemispheres, the upper hemisphere being bisected by a second band. Usually topped by a cross. globe topped by a cross.

NARRATIVE IMAGES

The king credited the Virgin Mary with his reconquest of Seville from the Moors, so he gave the city a statue of Mary which came to be known as the Virgin of the Waters.
King Ferdinand Presents the Virgin of the Waters to Seville. See the description page for details.

Prepared in 2013 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University. Revised 2018-08-05.

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18th century statue (See the description page)

MORE IMAGES

DATES

  • Feast day: May 30
  • Lived 1198-1252

HAGIOGRAPHY

  • Acta Sanctorum, May vol. 7, 280-414. (Note the Vita Brevior, 298-304.)
  • Also see the survey of Fernando's hagiography in Butler, 426.