Mexican Retalbos Collection

Open February 8 Thru March 2
Opening Reception at 6 pm, Friday, February 8th

This small collection of Mexican Retablos (and one Ex-Voto) is a sampling of 19th Century Mexican folk art, devotional paintings.  Retablos were inspired by and based on traditional Roman Catholic iconography that was brought to the Americas from the 16thCentury forward.  The word Retablo comes from the Spanish term for a retable or reredos above an altar, whether a large altarpiece painting or an elaborate wooden structure with sculptures.

Small retablos are devotional or votive paintings, often on rectangular sheets of tin, illustrating holy images such as Christ, the Virgin Mother, or one of the hundreds of saints.  Ex-Votos (from a vow) depict the story of a dangerous or threatening event that actually occurred; and which the person survived, thanks to the intercession of a sacred person - God, Mary or a saint. They are made as a way of thanking the sacred person for protection in precarious situations, such as surviving an illness or earthquake.  Ex-votos often show the protected humans in a dangerous situation, and the sacred person who protected them and there is usually an inscribed explanation of the events, with the date and location.  Both devotional and especially ex-voto retablos may be deposited at a shrine as a votive offering or, alternatively, kept at home.

Retablos are also found in other South American countries such as Peru.

Thanks to Nana and Papa for introducing me to Retablos those many years ago.  Also thanks to Crystal Clark at Framemaker Gallery in College Corner for creating many wonderful frames for my use! - Wendy Richardson