Saints, Santos, and Shrines

Saints, Santos, and Shrines

by John Annerino


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Devotional folk art of the Southwest.

Wooden sculptures and relief paintings of saints such as St. Francis, the Blessed Virgin, and Apostles of Christ have for centuries been objects of devotion and worship in the Southwest Catholic culture. This centuries-old heritage is celebrated here through photographs, essay, and literary quotes that beautifully bring the devotion into focus.

Crafting saints has always been seen as a high calling. These santeros and santeras (saint makers) created santos—images of saints, Christ, the Trinity, and Holy Family—painting them on wooden panels called retablos. They carved and painted wooden sculptures called bultos. And if they built a home chapel, they carved and painted an altar screen, or altar retablo, called a reredos, that was made up of smaller retablos and sometimes adorned with bultos.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781423631408
Publisher: Smith, Gibbs Publisher
Publication date: 03/01/2013
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 16 Years

About the Author

John Annerino casts an artist's and scholar's perspective on a icon he has photographed for many years. He is the photographer and author of sixteen distinguished photography books, including the award-winning Desert Light, Indian Country, Vanishing Borderlands, Canyons of the Southwest, The Wild Country of Mexico, and Roughstock: The Toughest Events in Rodeo. His work has also appeared in National Geographic Adventure, LIFE, Newsweek, People,

Read an Excerpt


Images speak, they are neither mute, nor lifeless blocks, like the idols of the Pagans. Every image that meets our gaze in a church relates, as if in words, the humiliation of Christ for his people, the miracles of the Mother of God, the deeds and conflicts of the Saints. Images open the heart and awake the intellect, and in a marvelous and indescribable manner, engage us to imitate the persons they represent. — Saint John Damascenus, 8th century


One of the notable things about the venerable Catholic churches of New Mexico is the number of ancient paintings and statues of the saints which they contain. Some are the rude daubs on wood made by devout Indians, and some are the canvases of prominent artists of Mexico and Spain. — Charles F. Lummis, 1892, Some Strange Corners of Our Country


Our Lady of Guadalupe chapel altar screen retablo, carved by master santero Eulogio Ortega and painted by his wife, master santera Zoraida Ortega, Velarde, New Mexico. / Retablo de la pantalla del altar de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, tallado por el maestro santero Eulogio Ortega y pintado por su esposa, la maestra santera Zoraida Ortega, Velarde, New Mexico.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ... 7

Hallowed Pa ssages ... 8

Imagery and Literature ... 22

saints ... 22

Santos ... 64

Shrines ... 108

Literature Cited ... 142

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