This classic 19th century Mexican folk retablo represents ‘NS de Refugio de los Pecadores’, or ‘Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners’. NS de Refugio is perhaps the most popular of all subjects in retablo art. She is almost always depicted as she is here, surrounded by a colorful garland of flowers, with puffy white clouds, the Christ Child and her ciphers initialed on the side of her cloak.
Unlike almost every other retablo ever produced – this piece is signed, albeit somewhat illegibly, by the proud artist who painted it. There are only a handful of known retablo painters and rarely, if ever, did they sign their work. This unique retablo is an exception to that unwritten rule.