The Virgin of Guadelupe, also known as Our Lady of Guadelupe, is the patron saint of Mexico. This retablo--a shelf with a frame enclosing a decorated panel--depicts The Virgin in the center surrounded by smaller vignettes. Four of the scenes show The Virgin appearing to an indigenous Mexican peasant named Juan Diego in 1531, collectively known as "The Four Apparitions." The fifth one, in the lower right corner, depicts the tilma (cloak) belonging to Juan Diego upon which The Virgin left her image imprinted.
The wood panel was decoupaged with a lithograph and then varnished. When color prints of paintings became available, retablos like these could be more easily made for devotions in the home. The prints are typically copies of old, well-known paintings. Hand made of pine, somewhat rough and unvarnished with a couple of knotholes, the grooved frame is embellished with an arched pediment and four small turned columns.
This retablo measures 24 inches tall and 14 1/2 inches wide across the frame. The shelf measures 15 1/2 inches wide and the piece weighs 3 pounds, 10 ounces. It's in very good condition, definitely a hand made piece of religious folk art. There is a hole in the back for hanging on the wall or it can be placed on a table or an altar.