This 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 devilish imps and an angel, each vying for the dying man’s soul as it departs his lifeless body and ascends to heaven.
In nearly every example of this subject San Camilo is shown disproportionately larger than his patient. In the case of this retablo however, he towers over the ghostly white invalid. The author of this painting had not only a colorful imagination, but a unique sense of perspective too. In addition to the proportional division described above, there are other attributes worth noting the abrupt termination of the floor together with floor tiles that seems to defy gravity.
The most interesting attribute however, is the configuration of the bed borderline fantastical, with a whimsical halo shaped headboard reminiscent of a space age time capsule.