Detail from a Traditional Retablo (acrylic, “Virgin Most Powerful Pray for Us” by Nicole Goldman) / Houston, TX / Nov. 2007
I love the colors that this artist used -- the cobalt blue and shades of red and gold. Simple paint strokes make her dress look like a tapestry. Offering a votive object to a god or a holy person in thanks or as a petition was common in many cultures including the ancient Greeks, pre-Columbian America, and India. Sometimes the votive objects are called “ex-votos,” from the Latin for “from (or out of) a vow” (i.e., it is an offering for an answered prayer or a request).
“An appreciation for ex-voto paintings as an art form was fostered in the 20th century due, in large part, to the efforts to some of the great Mexican artists of the century who collected ex-votos. Diego Rivera praised ex-voto retablos as a true and unique expression of Mexican culture. Frida Kahlo, more than any other artist, used the form of the ex-voto retablo as a compositional device in her own works. Thus, the tradition of ex-voto retablo painting continues today, both as an expression of devotion and as an artistic and cultural phenomenon.” (via Kalarte Gallery)