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Saint Anthony

by Private Collections

Size: 35 x 23
Medium: Oil on canvas

Artist: Raphael Aguirre
From the Asela Sanchez Collection

History of this Painting and Artist
This stunning original oil painting of St. Anthony of Padua was painted in 1902 by Raphael Aguirre, a very renowned and accomplished artist from Mexico, probably as a study from a European piece.
Aguirre is well-known for having painted an exact replica of the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to be substituted for the actual tilma during the period of the persecution of Christians in Mexico - the Cristeros. The authentic image was kept safe from the government. No one ever realized that the one on display during that time was actually Aguirre's replica.

The History of St. Anthony and the Child Jesus
In religious imagery, Saint Anthony of Padua is especially beloved. Apart from the Holy Family, he is the probably the only saint depicted with the Christ Child and in a particularly touching way - holding the Child Jesus while stalks of white lilies (representing purity, innocence and integrity) are present in the foreground. What is noticeable in these depictions is the fact the Child Jesus tenderly puts his hand on the saint’s face, as if to simultaneously embrace him and bless him.
It is a picture that evokes a child’s love toward his parent and the parent's love toward his child. As a matter of fact, statues have depicted this scene ever since the 17th century. Stories of the saint's life tell that one night the Divine Child visited Anthony, kissed him and told him that He loved him. Anthony, in that visitation, was entrusted with the Child Jesus. Lilies depicted in religious art represent that trust and divine favor.