Maria de las Mercedes, also known as "El Santo Cerro" in La Vega, Dominican Republic is nicely painted by the naive Dominican painter José Morillo. The Virgin of Mercy is considered a spiritual guide for many cities in the Dominican Republic, is celebrated with great devotion on the 24th of September – mostly in the towns of Cabrera, Constanza, Hato Mayor, Imbert, Pimentel, and Sabana Grande de Palenque.
An interesting and unknown fact is that the Virgin de las Mercedes is also the patroness of all the fire brigades in the country. In other Catholic countries, the Virgin de las Mercedes has another connotation. In Venezuela, she is the patroness of people who have been imprisoned because it was customary to pardon a group of prisoners on her feast date: September 24th.
José Morillo was born in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic in 1975, and now lives in Constanza. He is currently considered the most prominent naive painter in Dominican art and Myriam Nader Art Gallery in New York is his exclusive agent worldwide.
Morillo had several exhibitions in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the U.S, and Colombia at several prestigious art galleries, namely Galeria Nader in the D.R., and art museums such as Museo del Barrio in NY, OAS Museum in Washington; Museo de Las Casas Reales, and Museo of Altagracia in the D.R.; the Museum of Modern Art of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
José Morillo paints the joy transformed into a light laugh. He sees what surrounds him, what he imagines, and what he dreams of; figures and objects have their place without diminishing the importance of one or the other, converging so many elements of our syncretism popular as religious.
José Morillo’s vibrant and diversified creativity in the naive style has earned him the most qualified art critics' respect and attention. At such levels, he was awarded the critics prize for a first exhibition, awarded by the Dominican section of the international Arts Critics Association ( AICA). As an award of high recognition on the impact of his work and demand in the Dominican art market, in 2016, the Casa Cuesta company dedicated the edition of his ceramic production Arte de Café to him, spiking the appreciation of the public.
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