This small painting on wood is of Mary Magdalene, whose feast day is July 22, and who is patron saint of contemplative life, sexual temptation, and women in general. The piece--called a "retablo"--is only slightly bigger than one's hand yet has warmth and charm. It was made by New Mexico artist William Lovato Hyde, who, according to his website, "...was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1988 and began creating colorful works as a young child. Moving to Santa Fe, at age six he attended his first Spanish Market and announced that it was this art form that he would pursue. As a teen he found a mentor, Frankie Nazario Lucero, in the Spanish Colonial Art Tradition, with roots and traditions dating to the Spanish settlement in Santa Fe over 400 years ago. [Hyde] creates santos from prayer and the stories of the saints' great struggles, humility, faith, and miracles. With compassion towards others he seeks to make the world a better place, by sharing hope and strength, and to the shine the light of the true beauty that the saints' embody. He has art in private collections in the United States and around the world, including the Spanish Colonial Art Museum and the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, NM." This piece was purchased directly from the artist in about 2016, and still has the original price. A bit of history on the art form practiced in NM, which developed in the 16th Century in part due to the isolation of the Spanish in northern New Mexico relative to Mexico City: Those who created religious folk art merged "their old European art form with their experiences in New Spain, and created their own unique devotional art. The santos (saints), were made in two-dimensional form known as retablos, and three-dimensional sculptural pieces known as bultos. Both are among the most valued collectibles of religious antiques today. The contemporary santos and bultos made by well-known artists, many of whom are descendants of the original santeros (religious artists), are equally valued by those seeking spiritual support and serious investment value." Retablos and bultos of New Mexico are a beautiful form of devotional art, an early form of "outsider art," that can be found in churches, museums, and personal home altars, as well as displayed as pieces of art in many Southwestern homes. A retablo like this, honoring Mary Magdalene, might be special for a person born on July 22, or perhaps someone pursuing a slow, mindful life.
The retablo is small at 7-1/2" tall by 4-1/4" wide. Signed by artist on the back.
Folk art of the faithful.
Please convo with questions, or call (505) 369-6865. Will return your call as soon as possible.
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