Retablos are small oil paintings on tin, zinc, wood or copper which venerate a multiplicity of Catholic saints. These saints were prayed to and called upon during times of crisis such as a flood, an earthquake, or some other calamity. The literal translation for "retablo" is "behind the altar." This genre of folk art, deeply rooted in Spanish history, represents the heart and soul of traditional religious beliefs in 17th, 18th, and 19th century Mexican culture.
Some of the retablos depicted the baby Jesus with the Virgin Mary, while others showed Jesus crucified.
Anima Sola, literally "lonely soul," can take the form of either a retablo or a santo. These, however, do not depict saints, but rather the souls of sinners. The souls appear to be suffering in a fiery hell, but they are actually in purgatory, awaiting a future passage to heaven.
The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, runs through November 7, 2012. The Fullerton College Art Gallery is open Mon-Thurs from 9am-2pm.