19th Century Saint Matthew Retablo


21”H x 16”W x 2.25”D

A stunning Mexican creation. A crown tin retablo holds an original print of Saint Matthew soldered into the frame.  Intricate work.  A beautiful antique. Tin is complete with age appropriate patina. Print shows signs of age. Original glass has a single line break. Marked: Paris,I, TURGIS Jne Imp , r des Ecoles et à New York, LeonardSt. 83. St. Mathias Apôtre. Apostol.

 A Tid-Bit: Mexico tinwork was made to approximate the look of silver, at a time when the possession of silver by anyone unauthorized by the Spanish government was illegal. Tinsmiths realized once the Santa Fe Trail opened that much of the perishable freight being transported along the trail was sealed in tin cans, which once opened were discarded. By flattening out the tin and cutting and stamping the flat pieces, tinsmiths could produce works worthy of using as decoration in homes and churches. On some pieces, remnants of food and oil can labels can still be seen on the reverse of the tinwork.

Saint Matthew: St. Matthew was one of the twelve apostles – the first to respond to the call to follow Jesus. He wrote the first Gospel, recording the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. St. Matthew, before he was called by Jesus to become His apostle, was a Jewish tax collector. As such, he was considered to be among the “sinners” due to the unfair practices conducted by tax collectors under Roman rule. It came as a great surprise to many when Jesus called St. Matthew, since the tax collectors were hated by most Jews.


Late 19th Century