DESCRIPTION: A 19th C. Mexican retablo, beautifully painted on tin with the traditional depiction of San Francisco, the Catholic saint associated with charity. This is noted by the word "Caridad"(or charity) painted in red at the top right corner. A retablo in Mexican folk art is a devotional painting using iconography derived from traditional Roman Catholic church art. Retablos are often painted on rectangular sheets of tin illustrating holy images such as Christ, the Virgin Mother, or one of the hundreds of Catholic saints. These images were sought out by devout believers who displayed them as part of their home altars in order to honor their patron Saints, to petition them for specific requests or give thanks for protection through a trial or illness.
St. Francis, the founder of the Minim Friars, was known for the miracles he performed. Here the artist has depicted him in his dark brown habit with his head surrounded by a glowing white halo, suggestive of his miraculous powers. His visage is naturalistic - ruddy cheeks, soft skin texture and heart-shaped lips - and it shows an emotive expression of compassion. He holds a rosary in his right hand and a shepherd's staff in his left hand, poised to perform his next miracle. PROVENANCE: Ex Ramon Kelly collection, prominent artist of Denver, CO. CONDITION: Some wear to painted surface as is common in antique retablos; small nail holes in each corner for hanging. DIMENSIONS: 10" wide (25.40 cm) x 14" high (35.56 cm).