The Omnipotent Powerful Hand
The Omnipotent Powerful Hand is an unusual representation of the Holy Family with many connections and unknown meaning. This retablo tradition has connections to several other retablo collections including The Five Lords, The Tree of David, and The Mystical Vine/ Precious Blood of Christ. Though the precise purpose of the tradition is unknown, there are many themes represented within the compositional tradition. The composition always includes a representation of Infant Jesus’ family including the Virgin Mary, and saints Joseph, Anne, and Joachim. Jesus takes the middle and highest seat; slightly below him, Mary and Joseph are shown. Even lower than Mary and Joseph are Mary’s parents Anne and Joachim. All these figures are hovering over clouds. Below them, the hand of the crucified Christ with the stigmata is shown feeding seven lambs, eluding to the Eucharist and the Seven Sacraments. The environment is subject to the artist and some choose to show the blood flowing into a chalice before it reaches the mouths of the lamb. The retablo tradition is a representation of the Holy Family as well as Mary’s parents. This inclusion of Mary’s parents seems to have connections to the Immaculate Conception, as well as the cult to Saint Anne. The inclusion of more relatives of Christ may also indicate lineage, though an incomplete one. The representation of the lambs drinking the blood has a connection between the Eucharist and the Passion of Christ.