Hermenegildo Bustos and the Retablos He is Known For

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There have been many artist who have risen to popularity in the land known as Mexico and there are many who also have become world renown. Heremenegildo Bustos not only was the pride of his town, but historically eventually became known as one of the best Mexican artist of the turn of the Century. Although Bustos was mainly a portraitist he had a superb ability in creating retablos and exvotos which he became well known for.
"The retablo, a small painting on tin, usually celebrates a miraculous recovery from injury or illness or a providential escape from an accident. It represents the hero or heroine in a predicament from which there has been a supernatural rescue, together with the divinity who worked the miracle. The forms are primitive, the colors lurid, the composition arranged for their immediately dramatic values (Helm 8)."
This style of folk art is entrenched in Spanish history. It represents the essence of traditional 17th, 18th, and 19th century Mexican culture. Post conquest Mexico found that this type of an art form flourished. Inexpensive mediums were eventually introduced and the popularity of this art form found its peak in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Hermenegildo Bustos was relatively unknown outside of his hometown and area of Purisima del Rincon, Guanajuato. Not only was Bustos a portraitist, but he also made a living as a silversmith, farmer, carpenter, church sacristan and even an ice-cream maker for at this time he was a man who needed to make a living and provide for his family. It was difficult making a living just from painting portraits, but incredibly he managed to find commissions even after the emergence of photography. "Like Velasco, albeit on a smaller scale, Bustos communicated both h...

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...nd times, a kind of diary that captured and interpreted anecdotes, customs, happenings, and events (Durand 33)."
"A total of 67 of his retablos have been identified, most of which are in a private collection such as those of Aceves Barajas, Orozco Munoz, del Valle Prieto, Pina, Durand-Arias, and Rionda Arreguin (Durand 33)."

Works Cited

Durand, Jorge, and Douglas S. Massey. Miracles on the Border: Retablos of Mexican Migrants to the United States. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1995. Print.

Helm, MacKinley. Mexican Painters: Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros and Other Artists of the Social Realist School. New York: Dover Publications, 1989. Print.

Oles, James. Art and Architecture in Mexico. , 2013. Print.

Oles, James, and Karen Cordero. South of the Border: Mexico in the American Imagination, 1914-1947. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993. Print.
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