Retablos

The votive offerings known as retablos were originally painted on cloth or sometimes wood by professional artists and, given the expense, were offered by wealthier votaries. Retablos became affordable for popular use around 1825, when Mexican folk artists began painting on inexpensive tinplate. Retablo painters worked by commission and shared the votaries’ religious culture. The intent of the paintings was more devotional than artistic, and the works were generally unsigned. For centuries commissioned retablos were a predominant form of votive offering in Mexico, but today their use is infrequent.