Retablos, or small devotional paintings on tin and copper, were part of everyday life in 19th and 20th century Mexico. They were displayed at major pilgrimage sites throughout the country, and in homes and churches. This March, EPMA’s retablos collection—the second-largest in the United States—is being highlighted in a new installation featuring the museum’s key collections gifted by El Paso’s Hamilton, McKnight, and Roderick families. The exhibition, representative of the breadth and depth of EPMA’s holdings, focuses on the Virgin Mary in her many folk and formal manifestations. It includes ex-votos, or paintings commissioned to commemorate miracles, and retablos santos, or paintings of saints and holy figures. Joy and Suffering illuminates not only the devotional culture of 19th and 20th century Mexico, but also the daily joys and sufferings of life.
Support for this exhibition is provided by the Rogers Family, and in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the El Paso Museum of Art Foundation.