In the last few days all my meandering image research paths seem to lead me to colonial and Spanish art. This must be a result of drawing a tighter focus on the tradition of religious objects and in particular, objects of daily devotion.
Being as various waves of iconoclasm washed away both the objects and the traditions of domestic icon veneration in northern Europe it follows that I must turn my gaze to Spain and her former colonies. This is convenient as I happen to live in Austin, Texas where there remains evidence of a profound, though perhaps waning, tradition of mystical ardor for graven images that I find so inspiring.
From Colonial Arts a gallery specializing in Spanish Colonial art:
“Arguably the most popular and highly revered image in retablo and Mexican art, this mid 19th century folk retablo painting on tin depicts “Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe” surrounded by a manderola of golden rays.
Legend tells of her appearance to the peasant Juan Diego in 1521 at the mountaintop shrine of the Pre-Columbian goddess Tonantzin. She filled his cloak with roses and emblazoned her image on his cape as proof of the miraculous visitation. She is the patroness of the Americas and is sought to cure all ills.
The retablo is displayed behind glass in the original 19th century hand carved and hand painted nicho frame – a work of art in itself. Dimensions: retablo measures 10 inches x 7 inches. Wooden nicho frame measures 17 inches high x 10 inches wide x 5 inches deep.”