January 8, 2008

Mexican Retablos

SanCamilodeLelis.jpgI collect Mexican retablos- small paintings of saints on tin. One of my favorite dealers James Caswell has written an insightful book titled Saints and Sinners on Mexican devotional art with a big section devoted to retablos illustrated largely with selections from his own impressive collection. The book came out 2 years ago but somehow escaped my notice until recently. I recommend the book as well as his gallery's website which contains a good selection of links and explanatory information and where most items for sale have detailed descriptions to give context. For example on the image above:

An illustration of the Catholic belief that Camille guides and protects at the final hour. Titled at bottom San Camilo de Lelis Patron de los Agonizontes, or "San Camilo of Lelis patron of people in final agony", depicts a fascinating cast of Hieronymous Bosch like characters who represent spiritual hazards of death. San Camilo and his acolytes guard the dying soul against final temptations of a host of satanical troublemakers. A devil in the window says, "I can't" (meaning he can't get to the dying man to detour him to hell). The demon floating above the enthroned Virgin Mary threatens, "your children". The Virgin invites, ven a mi gloria, "come to my glory". Notice the dying man's little white soul flying up to the Virgin's open arms..... The devil beneath the bed says, vuelvale intentar "try again". On the left are the seven demons of the deadly sins...

posted at 03:26 AM by raul

Filed under: art

TAGS: dealers (1) ex-votos (2) mexican devotional art (1) retablos (2)


01/08/08 08:29 AM

We have three small ex-votos depicting sightings of the Virgen de Guadalupe which we love. We bought them in a small shop in Oaxaca City about 7 years ago. We also have a couple of tin nichos which I think are beautiful. Oaxaca has an "antique" store near the Santo Domingo church which many pieces of religious art.

Sounds like an ad for Oaxaca City but it is beautiful if you've never been.

01/09/08 08:39 PM

One of my favorites that a friend bought was a retablo that thanks la Virgin for helping a fellow who had fallen down from drinking too much and then been bitten by a dog.

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