Santa Librada – SOLD
45" x 23" x 12"
Bultos, Tinwork, Wood, natural pigment and stamped tinwork
Region: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Signed and dated bottom of work
The virgin martyr, Santa Librada, was never officially canonized by the Catholic Church and was instead revered as a folk saint in Europe and the Americas. She is often associated with St. Wilgefortis, and their legends have become conflated. In some accounts, Librada was the daughter of the pagan Portuguese king Caltheo and his wife Calisa. Caltheo sought to marry his daughter off to a Sicilian king, but Librada, wishing to remain a virgin, converted to Christianity and prayed to God for a disfigurement that would prevent the marriage. God granted Librada’s wish, and she miraculously grew a beard. After her suitor rejected her, Librada’s father, enraged, had her tortured and crucified. She is typically depicted as a bearded woman nailed to a crucifix, though her beard is absent in this tiny print from 1700s Mexico.

Librada’s crucifixion was interpreted as an imitation of Christ’s and made her a popular model in New Spain. She is also the patron saint of women seeking freedom from abusive men. The diminutive scale of this work suggests that it was used in contemplative prayer.

Courtesy of Denver Art Museum

About the Artist
One of New Mexico’s most renowned santeras, Marie Romero Cash is a well-known award-winning folk artist and writer in Santa Fe where she has lived most of her life.

The daughter of prominent traditional tinwork artists, the late Senaida and Emilio Romero, Marie has created art for a number of churches in the United States and in Mexico, including Stations of the Cross for the Basilica of St. Francis in Santa Fe. She has participated in the annual Spanish Market in Santa Fe for over 45 years, having won many awards for both traditional and contemporary works.

As a writer, her early works focused on research-based books about the culture and churches of Northern New Mexico, along with a memoir about growing up in Santa Fe in the 1950s.

A number of years ago she began to write a mystery series based around Santa Fe featuring Jemimah Hodge, a forensic psychologist. A romantic novel about the Pueblo Revolt began as a screenplay over ten years ago when she was a student at Lesley College in Boston. Her most recent book is a novel rather than a mystery, "The Word Thief.” She is currently working on another memoir and a new screenplay.

Her works are in the following collections: the Museum of International Folk Art; the Albuquerque Museum; the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art; the Smithsonian Institute; the Vatican; the Archdiocese of Santa Fe; the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; and many private collections.