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Saint Raphael

by Damián de Castro

This Saint Raphael is, along with Our Lady of La Candelaria, one of the masterpieces that Damián de Castro made for Cordoba Cathedral. The work reflects a model that is somewhere between a sculpture and silversmithing, and which required collaboration between two artists. These were the sculptor who carved the effigy in wood and the silversmith responsible for chiselling and embossing the noble metal plates to give it its final appearance. In this work, it is thought that the author of the sculptural model was Alonso Gómez de Sandoval.

From an iconographic viewpoint, it responds to the model that was popularised in Cordoba from the middle of the 17th century, and which shows him as a pilgrim. Saint Raphael appears in a walking pose whilst holding a staff in his right hand. Added to this item are others which appear in the cloud under his feet. One example is the fish, in a clear reference to his protection and healing work.

Damián de Castro

He was the most prominent Cordoban silversmith from the 18th century. Part of his extensive work is preserved in the Treasury of Cordoba Cathedral, where he was appointed senior master silversmith. Other noteworthy works of his are the Virgin of La Candelaria and the Eucharist Ark of Maundy Thursday

Technical sheet
  • Title: Saint Raphael
  • Author: Damián de Castro
  • Date: 1768
  • Material and technique: Silver and gilded silver. Embossed, chiselled and polychrome
  • Dimensions: 135 cm
  • Location: Cathedral Treasury (south wall)
Key features of the work
  • There are no marks from the author but on its base is the inscription that tells us about its commissioning: "Mr. Nicolás Moyano y Armenta, prebendary of this Holy Church Cathedral, in order to honour Archangel Raphael, attentive protector of this city, in the most solemn way, dedicated this silver image with a generous and reverent hand and without sparing any expenses, commissioning its creation from Damián de Castro, from whose goldsmith workshop it came out finished in the year 1768"

  • The staff, the fish and the gourd are symbolic items very frequently found in representations of Archangel Raphael. While the staff and water gourd refer to his status as a pilgrim, the fish comes from the story of Tobias, whose father is cured of blindness after passing the gall of this animal over his eyes

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