San Rafael y Tobias

Copied Caban group, San Rafael y Tobias, ca. 1850-1925, carved and painted wood with metal, 19 3412 187 14 in. (50.230.718.5 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Teodoro Vidal Collection, 1996.91.32
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Artwork Details

San Rafael y Tobias
Caban group
ca. 1850-1925
19 3412 187 14 in. (50.230.718.5 cm.)
bottom in black ink and white ink on wood: CA 4515 (illegible)/#51 bottom in black ink: #530 bottom in black ink: T. Vidal
Credit Line
Teodoro Vidal Collection
Mediums Description
carved and painted wood with metal
  • Group
  • Animal — fish
  • Religion — Old Testament — Tobias
  • Religion — angel — St. Raphael
Object Number

Artwork Description

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)