Archangel Raphael

Archangel Raphael

circa 1720
unknown artist
Peru, Bolivia
Spanish Colonial
Oil paint and gold leaf on canvas.
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Belinda Straight

Unknown artist, Archangel Raphael, about 1720. Oil paint and gold leaf on canvas; 54½ x 39½ in. Gift of Dr. Belinda Straight, 1985.535.

height: 54.5 in, 138.4300 cm; width: 39.5 in, 100.3300 cm
BL:"Raphael, medicina Dei"
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art
This object is currently on view

In colonial Peru, two artistic centers developed, one in Lima with heavy European influence; the other in Cuzco and the surrounding highland areas of the Andes mountains (including Bolivia), which incorporated stronger native inspiration and employed many Indigenous artists.  In the highland area a distinctive style of painting evolved that combined European artistic traditions with details from Inca iconography.  The extraordinary use of gold decoration on paintings is exclusive to the highland areas of Peru and Bolivia.  Known as broceatado (brocade) or sobredorado (gold overlay) in Spanish, it was created by applying gold leaf over small raised applications of gesso.  It imitates the elaborate brocade fabrics of the era.

Paintings of angels became particularly popular in the highland Andes in colonial times, possibly as a result of their relationship to birds, held sacred by the Inca for their ability to fly and get closer to the sun god.

-- Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Gifted 30 December 1985 by Dr. Belinda Straight to the Denver Art Museum. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.