San Rafael – SOLD
ca. 1830
9.25" x 6"
Retablos, Wood, gesso, natural pigments
Saint Raphael is the third archangel to be mentioned by name in the canonical Scriptures. His name in Hebrew means "God has healed". In the book of Tobias he was the traveling companion and protector of Tobias in his journey to find a miraculous fish that would cure his father's blindness. As Physician of God he is accorded a merciful and restorative function, being invoked for eye or other ailments and for insuring a safe journey. He is often depicted in pilgrim's clothes, holding a pilgrim's staff and a fish.

The angel's iconography shows him with a tunic, open traveling sandals, a staff with a gourd for water tied to the top, and a fish. He guides and protects travelers and especially pilgrims, he protects against demons, and he is a source of health for mind and body, especially for the eyes.

About the Artist
(Active 1830 - 1840)
The Arroyo Hondo Santero apparently worked only for a short period of time, beginning around 1830. His works for churches seem to have been limited to the area around Arroyo Hondo, near Taos, and the surrounding communities.

He was named after a large commission he completed around 1830 for Nuestra Senora de los Dolores church in Arroyo Hondo.

The only possible clue to the identification of the Arroyo Hondo Santero is the letter ā€œpā€ painted as a brand on the oxen of a San Isidro bulto, and this letter could refer to either a first or last name.

The Arroyo Hondo Santero appears to have been strongly influenced by the works of Jose Aragon, as many of his painted panels are similar in execution to those of Aragon.

W.S. Stallings, former curator of of the Taylor Museum of the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, estimated the working dates of this santero to be between 1827- 1831 based on dendrochronological testing on 22 panels attributed to Jose Aragon and his school, to which the Arroyo Hondo Santero had been assigned.

Although some the works of this santero are indeed similar in some respects to those of Jose Aragon, the only reasonable conclusion is that Arroyo Hondo Santero was a student or apprentice of Aragon.

Comparison of stylistic traits on retablos attributed to the Arroyo Hondo Painter and carvings attributable to the Arroyo Hondo Carver clearly indicate that the maker was one and the same and should be named the Arroyo Hondo Santero.

Source: Marie Romero Cash, Santos: Enduring Images of Northern New Mexican Village Churches, University of Colorado Press, 1999