North America, Mexico, ca. 1863 CE or shortly thereafter. A well preserved ex voto, a folk art painting on tin made for religious purposes. This example exhibits beautiful symmetry, with El Senor de la Piedad - Christ of Piety - crucified at the center and two kneeling figures portrayed in profile to either side. These figures represent the creators of this ex voto. Clouds part around the crucifix, with a pale sky blue background and the edges of the clouds wonderfully rendered. At the bottom of the image are several lines of text, carefully handwritten in easily readable, evenly printed letters. This inscription reads: "On the 24th of July, 1863, D. Ramon Suarez received 2 gunshot wounds to his head. His wife prayed to 'El Senor de la Piedad', and to him dedicates this ex voto for his miraculous recovery." Size of ex voto: 6.8" W x 9.7" H (17.3 cm x 24.6 cm); size of frame: 11.7" W x 14.25" H (29.7 cm x 36.2 cm)
Ex votos are narrative paintings indicative of healing or blessing 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 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. Oftentimes, however, this commentary is replete with regional dialect and difficult to translate. Nevertheless, if you are familiar with the Spanish language, you will probably get the gist of these anecdotal paintings.
Provenance: ex-House of Ancestors, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA; ex-private Galisteo, New Mexico, USA collection
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The ex voto has not been examined outside of the frame. It appears to be in excellent condition with light wear and deposits on the painted motifs. The written section below is also in nice condition and is almost entirely legible. The framing dates later than the ex-voto but compliments it very well.