This dramatic 19th century folk retablo represents 'San Camilo de Lelis', often referred to as the 'Red Cross Saint' -- a reference to the red cross worn on his black habit.
San Camilo, patron saint of the sick, nurses and dyeing people, is almost always depicted as he is here, ministering to his patient at the hour of death. In almost every example of this subject, San Camilo is accompanied by members of his ministry, devilish imps and angels, the latter two said to be vying for the ailing patient's departing soul. The retablo offered here is incredibly graphic - layered with allegory, whimsical vignettes and a patchwork of devilish imps shouting profanities and chastising San Camilo -- "Mata Usted, Camilo". A large 'Cristo' towers over the other figures to further emphasize the triumph of good over evil, and to assure safe passage of this patient's ascending soul.
** The probability of procuring a more distinguished, widely recognized or celebrated retablo would be dubious. Retablos of this caliber and quality rarely come to market. In nearly every genre and style of art there is at least one painting that shines above the rest and in retablo art, this San Camilo painting is arguably one of the strongest contenders.
Illustrated in Saints and Sinners.
Dimensions: 14 inches x 10 inches.
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Colonial Arts | 151 Vermont Street Street, Suite 6 | San Francisco, CA., 94103 | www.colonialarts.com