Saint Roch, born to a rich French family in Montpellier in the mid-13th century, donated all his worldly possessions to the poor and the sick, and went on a pilgrimage to Rome. On his way there, he is said to have nursed and cured several victims of the bubonic plague. When he contracted the deadly disease himself, he moved to a secluded area and was cured there by an angel and a dog. During the later Middle Ages, St Roch was invoked against the plague, and his cult would often gain momentum during plague outbreaks, such as in Malines in the early 16th century. According to tradition, he had a boil caused by the plague on his upper thigh: therefore, depictions of this saint, as in the present lot, often show Roch lifting his garments to expose his upper leg.
The present lot compares to a pair of figures of Saints Bartholomew and Jude in the Rijksmuseum (inv. no. R.B.K. 15504a), especially in the folds of drapery across the arm, the curls of hair and the narrow nose. The Rijksmuseum figures are dated circa 1515, and described as probably Austrian.