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San Rafael y Tobias

ca. 1850-1925 Caban group carved and painted wood with metal 19 3/4 x 12 1/8 x 7 1/4 in. (50.2 x 30.7 x 18.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Teodoro Vidal Collection 1996.91.32 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 21B


Luce Center Label

Saint Raphael is the guide of travelers and pilgrims and the provider of spiritual and physical health. The source of this santo is the book of Tobit, which Roman Catholics believe belongs to the Old Testament. The young Tobias was sent by his father, Tobit, on a dangerous journey to recover his family’s fortune. Along the way, the archangel Raphael protected him. When Tobias captured a fish in the Tigris River, Raphael warned him not to eat the heart and liver, and later these organs were used to save Tobias from the devil. This santo emphasizes the protective role of Raphael as he towers above Tobias with his hand comforting his young companion. (Irene Curbelo, The Expressive Other: Understanding and Enjoying Puerto Rican Santos, 2003)

Keywords

Animal - fish

Religion - angel - St. Raphael

Religion - Old Testament - Tobias

sculpture

metal

wood

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