Similar in form to the retablo, “ex-votos,” are devotional paintings which offer thanks to a particular saint in the form of a short narrative. The origin of the term is Latin, and means “for solemn vow or promise.” An ex-voto painting is typically comprised of three elements: a scene depicting a tragedy or someone with a grave illness or injury, a depiction of the intervention of a saint on behalf of the afflicted, and an inscription describing the tragic event and which gives thanks for the divine intervention.
The inscription on this piece can be translated:
“My husband was very sick with heart failure. They did a very delicate operation to save his life. I am thankful to the Virgin of Guadalupe for the miracle of saving his life.”