- Rafael Aragon, c. 1795 - 1862
Currently on view
Object ID: 1989.3A-C
Paint and gesso on wood.
Funds from Walt Disney Imagineering
height: 29 in, 73.66 cm; diameter: 10.75 in, 27.30 cm
New World-Southwest Santos
Purchased 12 January 1989 by the Denver Art Museum with funds from Walt Disney Imagineering.Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
When Spanish settlers arrived in the southwestern United States at the end of the 1500s, they brought with them paintings and sculptures of Catholic saints for their churches and homes. Soon afterward a local tradition of making such images developed. Spanish devotional artists (santeros) learned from local Pueblo Indians how to make paints from native plants and minerals. They combined these homemade paints with oil paints imported from Mexico to make images of religious figures known as bultos (sculptures) and retablos (paintings on wood panels). Both are still made in the area today. This image represents the Virgin of Mt. Carmel (known as Carmen in Spanish). According to legend, the Virgin Mary once appeared to a group of Christian hermits on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land and offered them a short shoulder cape called a scapular. Later, miniature scapulars that look like double-ended necklaces were worn by the faithful as a reminder of personal devotion. Often in images both the Virgin and Christ Child hold scapulars. -- Donna Pierce, 2015