National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Santo Santo
Rendered by Maude Valle (artist), 1936
watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite on paperboard
overall: 43.1 x 32.3 cm (16 15/16 x 12 11/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 13 1/2"x17 3/4"
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Folk Arts of the Spanish Southwest from the Index of American Design
Object 7 of 25

In New Mexico, priests taught skills to local workers, who became known as "santeros." The latter produced ""santos," or religious images, that were either carved in the round — "bultos" — or painted on panels — "retablos." Whereas the California missions owned numbers of oil paintings, either imported from Mexico or the work of mission-trained artists, in New Mexico such paintings are rarely found. Instead, the artists were taught to paint with tempera on wooden panels that were first treated with gesso. A few panels were modeled in the gesso, like this one representing Our Lady of Sorrows. This type is rare and is believed to be from the early "santero" period in New Mexico. Such paintings have been dated by tree rings in the wood panels to the period 1765–1812.

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