Retablos

Peruvian Retablos Artist in Residence at Shasta College, April 4 - April 15, 2016

Shasta College is pleased to announce an exhibit of Peruvian retablos and accompanying presentations by a guest artist of international renown, Claudio Jimenez Quispe.

Historically, retablos were wooden boxes used to transport religious themed figures into the Andean highlands during the colonial period of Peru. Today, the retablo tradition also includes folkloric themes and scenes of everyday Andean life and culture. Don Claudio has also adapted the retablo as a means of testimonio, or witnessing, in an attempt to recount the social strife from Peruvian armed conflicts of the 1980s through the corruption of today.

Don Claudio has received numerous international awards for his work, and his art has been well received in many countries, including Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Israel and the United States. His works have been acquired by numerous museums of the world, including the Smithsonian and the Museum of Man.

Calendar of Retablo Events, Mon Apr 4, 2016 - Fri Apr 15, 2016

  • Mon Apr 4, 2016, 11 am, Room 812.  Andean Culture in Retablos.  Lecture, in Spanish.
  • Mon Apr 4, 2016, 2 pm, Room 302.  Principles of Form, Design, and Color in Retablos.  Lecture.
  • Tues Apr 5, 2016, 9:30 am, Room 302.  Moving from Idea to Two Dimensional Plan, to 3D Retablo. Lecture.
  • Tues Apr 5, 2016, 11 am, Room 1317.  Themes from Peruvian History. Lecture.
  • Tues Apr 5, 2016 , 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, Shasta Public Library Community Room, 1100 Parkview Ave, Redding.  The Mayans Among Us.  Author event with Ann Sittig, Florinda Gonzalez.  Special guest Claudio Jimenez Quispe.
  • Weds Apr 6, 2016, 9 am, Room 812.  Retablo as Lens on Altiplano Life. Lecture, in Spanish.
  • Weds Apr 6, 2016, 11 am, Room 522.  Interaction of Social/Ethnic Design Groups in Peru. Lecture.
  • Weds Apr 6, 2016, 12:45 pm, Library Room 243.  Three Dimensional Design Strategies. Lecture.
  • Thurs Apr 7, 2016, 9 am, Room 812.  Andean Culture in Retablos. Lecture, in Spanish.
  • Fri Apr 8, 2016, 1 pm, Room 301.  Retablo Making Workshop.  $3.00 donation for materials.
  • Mon Apr 11, 2016, 8 am, Room 400.  The Retablo Tradition in World Art. Lecture
  • Mon Apr 11, 2016, 11 am, Room 301.  Retablo Making Workshop.  $3.00 donation for materials.
  • Tues Apr 12, 2016, 2 pm, Library.  Retablo Making Demonstration.
  • Tues Apr 12, 2016, 7 pm, Room 802. Against the Grain, a documentary which includes Don Claudio’s art as work that challenges political inertia.
  • Weds Apr 13, 2016, 3 pm, Library.  Retablo Making Demonstration.

What is a retablo?

The term retablo traditionally applies to a broad variety of religious images which are painted and sculpted over much of Latin America. The word is derived from the Latin retro tabula, which means behind the (altar) table, where devotional images were typically placed. In Mexico, New Mexico and Guatemala retablo (or strictly speaking, retablo santo) has taken the form of images of Christ, the Virgin, or the saints, painted on tin or wood. Carved and painted wood sculptures of saints and religious figures set in shallow boxes are generally referred to as nichos in this area. The Peruvian retablo is a blend of the two forms. Figures of individual saints may be carved or sculpted of a mix of plaster and cooked potato and set in a shadow box, like a nicho. But frequently, as in the pieces shown here, they take the form of a three dimensional painting of a scene, consisting of many figures in very complex environments. The boxes form miniature houses or shrines, often with opening doors and a gable above the opening. Typically both the doors and the sides of the box are covered with an ornate, polychrome floral decoration. The Peruvian retablos traditionally serve as household shrines, which combine folk and Christian tradiions. The art form has evolved to include the depiction of secular scenes of daily life in Peru, such as markets, shops, harvests, weddings and other ceremonies. In some cases the subject matter may even be political, depicting the turmoil of the last few years.

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