This fine and rare 19th century Mexican folk retablo represents ‘El Divino Rostro’, also known as ‘The Veil of Veronica’. According to popular legend, Veronica, a woman who made her way through the crowds when she saw Christ on the way to Calvary, wiped the sweat and the blood from his forehead. His image is said to have imprinted itself on her cloth and is still preserved in Saint Peter’s today. Arguably, the title of this theme is also derived from “Vera Icon” or “True Icon.”
Even more exceptional than the quality of this painting is the fact that this retablo is signed and dated by one of the most important and prolific of all 19th century retablo painters – Lorenzo Hernandez. The practice of signing retablos was virtually forbidden. Incredibly, given the number of retablos painted in the 19th century, there are only a small handful of attributable painters, and within that exclusive circle, a much smaller percentage of painters who had the courage to either initial or sign their work. This Lorenzo Hernandez Divino Rostro is an exception to that unwritten rule, and it lends credence to the hundreds of attributions that have been made in his name.