Artist Unknown (Bolivian, 19th century),
St. Isidore (San Isidro Labrador)
, mid to late 19th century
oil on canvas, 32 ¼ x 27 ½ in.; 81.9 x 69.9 cm
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick H. Lowell, 1965.664
The patron saint of Madrid, St. Isidore the Farm-Laborer was also much revered in the Spanish colonies. Isidore was a poor peasant working for a master who begrudged him the time he devoted to religious observance. Once, when he was about to rebuke Isidore for neglecting his tasks, the master saw two angels doing his field work for him. This image identifies Isidore’s religious significance but otherwise depicts him as a contemporary peasant in knee-breeches and hat. Folk art elements like flat perspective and imperfect anatomy suggest that the painting is the work of a self-taught artist, perhaps of Indian heritage.