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Santos Christ at the Column

Santos Christ at the Column

Date: about 1880
Catalog #: 280129.3    Accession #: 280129
Credit: Division of Cultural History, National Museum of American History


Jose B. Ortega (Artist)

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 23.25" H x 10" W x 4.75" D

Physical Description

Paint over carved wood

General History

Due to the occupation by Spain, New Mexico was largely Catholic. Many Catholic churches were built and these churches needed objects of devotion and prayer. Baroque paintings and sculpture common to church in this day were few and far between. Most Churches were adorned by the art of local santeros who had no formal academic training in art. These religious artworks produced between the 1700's and late 1800's are known as Santos. The term translates into two related English words: "saints" and "holy." Because Santos were religious and devotional works of art representing God, Christ, the Virgin Mary, the angels and saints, they were not meant for detached contemplation but for religious use. Two types of Santos are produced, retablos which are painted on a wooden plank and bultos which are three dimensional images.


Country: United States
State: New Mexico
Era: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
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