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Antique Mexican Retablo - Saint Isidore

Latin America, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. An antique Mexican retablo depicting Saint Isidore the Labourer (San Yaidro Labrador), a patron saint of farmers. Saint Isidore was a simple farmer who, following an epiphany, took time to pray and commune with God while working in his master's fields. When Isidore's fellow labourers complained that he was neglecting his work, Isidore's master came to the fields to observe him. He was amazed to see Isidore, kneeling in prayer, while angels plowed the fields for him. Here we see Saint Isidore at the center, relatively large in scale relative to the other figures in the painting, rays of light emanating from his head with right hand over his heart. Perhaps the artist intended to capture the moment of Isidore's epiphany. Notice the tiny figures with cattle in the fields below, and at the lower right, an angel and cow working the soil beneath a large raincloud. Icons like these were placed above household altars to venerate the saints (retablo literally means "behind the altar"). The retablo became wildly popular in the 19th century due to the introduction of tin as an affordable medium. Custom mat and frame. Size: retablo itself measures 14" x 10" (35.6 x 25.4 cm); framed 18-3/4" x 14-1/4" (47.6 x 36.2 cm)

Condition: Areas of paint loss, oxidation, bending, and surface wear as shown.

Provenance: Ex-private Jones collection, New York, NY

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