Since the establishment of the Spanish viceroyalties, the state courts along with religion, and daily living were dominated by the Catholic faith. In the process of conversion after the conquest, the Catholic Church produced religious artworks including venerations to Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Saints, and Angels. Colonists were subject to devotions, and women were specifically encouraged to devote and emulate their lives after the example set by the Virgin Mary and female saints.
Sacred rituals in colonial Latin America were infused with spirituality and ancient American as well as Catholic devotions. New Spain and Peru developed visual iconographies that embodied the interactions of European and indigenous traditions. It gave a way for the people to express themselves through objects, images, and rituals to the divine.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a cultural and religious symbol of Mexico, signifying grace, perfection, virtue, and mestizaje (mixing). This small wooden retablo (altar) displays the Guadalupe adorned with cacti and painted flourishes in the popular vernacular style.
Her devotion spread to colonial Latin America, including present-day Oaxaca, Mexico, as shown in this Baroque styled sculpture by artist Antonio Garcia.
This Baroque wooden carving of the triangular Virgin is decorated with metal Milagros (miracles), which are small metal charms depicting healed body parts, animals, and various symbols of the faith. Devotees often decorated religious images with Milagros to indicate answered prayers and healing, as depicted by artist Lupita Hecht.