The exhibition 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. Highlighting the exhibit will be esoteric pieces such as the Crucifixion in a Large Nicho by the Laguna Santero and La Santísima Trinidad, a wood retablo with an applied paper painting of the Holy Trinity.
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.