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Saint Christopher is famous in his role as a ferry-man for a God-Child. "Christopher, you not only carried the whole world on your shoulders, you just carried the One who created the world..."
Before our hero became the patron saint of the travellers, he was, so the legend says, very tall.
Early 15th century : to paint Saint Christopher in his famous triptyc, Van Eyck portrayed Jodocus Vijd's brother. Jodocus Vijd was the burgmester of Gent, Belgium. He commissioned the work of art. You can see him when the altar screen still exhibitted in Saint Bavon cathedral in the same city is folded.
That brother was a local colossus : big feet, tall body, imposing look...
That is why the characters of the panel seem out of proportions. Saint Christopher wears a purple blanket and he is guiding a crowd of tiny travellers towards the Lamb of God. As if they had not grown enough...
Important detail : two out of those dwarfs at least are pilgrims.
One of them with a simple hair-cut holds a sculpted walking stick. The bearded one before him carries a bag and wears a hat decorated with a scallop shell.
Another proof, if needed, that from North to South of the Continent, from Flemish art to Baroque, the scallop shell is the symbol of the pilgrim. Way of Saint James : the best cultural itinerary in Europe.