SANTA FE, N.M., May 14 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Treasures of Devotion/Tesoros de Devoción contains bultos, retablos, and crucifijos, dating from the late 1700s to 1900. They demonstrate how European stylistic traditions and iconography were combined with new palettes, different styles, and distinctive regional decorative designs that transformed New Mexican santo making into a unique hybrid.
The exhibition will illustrate the distinctive tradition of santo making in New Mexico introduced by settlers from Mexico. The local santero responded to the isolated settlers’ spiritual needs, evolving the art form from the Spanish baroque imagery popular in New Spain, principally, Mexico City, into their own innovative styles.
The exhibition opens at the Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum on July 20, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. and will be a long-term exhibition.
The pieces in Treasures of Devotion/Tesoros de Devoción show the diverse artistic responses that occurred as santeros answered the demand from their respective communities to bring devotional images into their churches, homes, and lives. The bultos, retablos, and crucifijos presented reveal a visual documentation of New Mexico’s cultural heritage.
The exhibit, once part of the private collection of Mr. and Mrs. Larry Frank, was recently purchased by the New Mexican legislature for the Palace of the Governors, New Mexico History Museum in order to preserve New Mexico’s cultural heritage. It is one of the defining traditional art forms of the region and a source of pride and identity for New Mexican Hispanics.
“The recent acquisition of the Larry Frank Collection of santos, retablos and tinwork greatly enriches the existing collection of the New Mexico History Museum,” said Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman. “The Tesoros exhibition at the Palace will showcase this wonderful artwork while offering museum visitors the opportunity to better understand and appreciate New Mexico’s cultural legacy.”
The Palace of the Governors, built from 1609 to 1610, is the state history museum for New Mexico and is housed in the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. The museum’s collection of more than 17,000 historical objects documents the Spanish Colonial, Mexican, American Territorial, and recent eras in New Mexico history. Items date from the time of the earliest Spanish explorations in the 16th century and chronicle 223 years of Spanish administrative control, 25 years as part of Mexico, 66 years as a territory of the United States, and from statehood in 1912 to the present. The Palace also administers the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library and Photo Archives, The Palace Print Shop and Bindery, and the Portal Program.