Latin America, Mexico, ca. 1950 CE. Hand-painted on heavy gauge tin, an ex voto depicting an automobile accident in the center beneath a Crucifix flanked by what appear to be red and blue barber poles; a man, woman, and child presenting candles and praying to the Virgin of San Juan on the left, and a bed-ridden individual on the right. The narrative text translates in part, "On March 22, 1950 a Pemex petroleum truck ran over young Tereso Picaso Anguiano who was only 18 years old. His mother, stricken with grief, prayed to the Virgin of San Juan and to the Lord of Saucito for a miracle . . . San Luis Potosi." Size: 20" L x 14.25" W (50.8 cm x 36.2 cm)
Ex-votos are narrative paintings created to ask for healing or blessing that are popular in Mexican visual culture. This tradition was inspired by the Greeks and was brought to the New World by the Spaniards. These votive paintings were hung in a church or placed adjacent to an image in order to celebrate and give thanks for the recovery of the donor or the donor's love one(s) from an illness or dangerous situation. In essence, ex-votos represent the spiritual or physical gains received by the donor. These paintings include hand painted passages that relate the details of the cure or the rescue. Typically, however, this commentary is replete with regional dialect and difficult to translate. Nevertheless, if one is familiar with the Spanish language, it is possible to get the gist of these anecdotal paintings, especially given the visual imagery.
Provenance: private Omer Claiborne collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA; acquired over the last 40 years
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