H U M A N I T I E S
A N D T H E A R T S
The Art of Devotion
From the Collection of
Barbe Awalt (MA '76) and Paul Rhetts
In the first centuries after the Spanish settled the Southwest
and introduced Catholicism 400 years ago, most people dwelt in
villages miles from a church. They worshiped instead at home
altars and in village chapels, where artwork depicting saints and
holy scenes (santos) became a focus for personal devotion.
Santos took several forms, including hide paintings,
three-dimensional carvings (bultos), and paintings on
prepared board (retablos). "The art is very simple. It
speaks to people," says Barbe Awalt (MA '76), who together with
her husband, Paul Rhetts, has accumulated one of the largest
collections of santos in the country (see Contributors section). The pieces
featured here are part of their traveling exhibit, "Our Saints
Among Us: 400 Years of New Mexican Devotional Art."
NOVEMBER 1998 TABLE OF CONTENTS.