This impressive 19th century oil on tin folk retablo represents ‘San Camilo de Lelis’, often referred to as the ‘Red Cross Saint’ — a reference to the red cross worn on his black habit.
San Camilo, patron saint of the sick, nurses and dying people, is almost always depicted as he is here, ministering to his patient at the hour of death. In almost every example of this subject, San Camilo is accompanied by his ministers, devils, angels, and the scythe wielding ‘Santa Muerte’ represented in the form of a skeleton (lower left). The angel, diablo and Santa Muerte are vying for the dying man’s soul as it departs his lifeless body.
This retablo painter clearly had a good sense of humor. The winged diablo makes a discreet stage right exit, together with a small white sack. The sack, presumably belonging to the recently departed, is inscribed ‘5000’.