Tuesday, September 28

Still Feeling Folksy

Retablos in the Nonomaque Home
from the Dallas Morning News
Photo by Rex C. Curry

Folk art has so many facets it is really hard for me to pick just one type to love. But, I think that if you made me pick, it would be Latin American folk art. More specifically, Mexican Catholic folk art.

The Holy Family
The University of New Mexico Collection

While it often doesn't depict the lightest of subjects, I'd have to say that devotional art is the type most dear to me. I am drawn to it both as a Catholic and an art lover. But, I don't think you have to be a Catholic to appreciate the layers of tradition and emotion that go into crafting devotional art pieces.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
The University of New Mexico Collection

I am particularly fond of retablos, which are devotional works painted on a thin sheet of tin.

Saint Wilgefortis, Virgin and Martyr
The University of New Mexico Collection

Retablos were meant to be used for devotion, much like the way we use holy cards today. They were created to be touched, kissed and held so naturally, they didn't fair too well with age. They were often framed in ornate tin frames and hung on a wall or used in an altar piece.

Saint Joseph and the Christ Child
The University of New Mexico Collection

The University of New Mexico has the largest collection of retablos in the US, with over 1,700 works dating back to the 1800's. Their entire collection has been carefully restored in an effort to preserve them for future generations of worshipers and art lovers alike.

Our Lady of Refuge
The University of New Mexico Collection

If you would like more information on their vast collection, please visit their website.

If you are interested in purchasing a retablo of you own, you don't have to go to Latin America to find one. Here are some fantastic pieces for sale online, and while I cannot vouch for their authenticity, they would certainly make a beautiful addition to your home. This representation of Our Lady of the Sacred Cave (which was recently sold) has to be is one of my favorites.

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