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Santo (Crucifix)

37 x 24 in. (94 x 61 cm)

American artist
United States

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Wood and paint
Credit Line: Gift of the Women's Council in honor of Isabel C. Herdle
Accession Number: 1973.9
Location: Currently on view
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The image of Christ on the cross is fundamental to Christian belief and the art that expresses it. The nearby Tramp Art Shrine, made in the northeastern United States, as well as many European works on the second floor of the Gallery, incorporate images similar to this santo made by an unknown santero. Santero is the traditional name for the carver of santos, which are typically figures of Christ or saints.

When European missionaries brought Catholicism across the ocean to the New World, they also brought with them traditional forms of religious iconography and woodcarving techniques. Spanish friars were the original santeros, carving the figures to decorate mission churches; during the 19th century, lay people became santeros, and santos became part of the domestic religious tradition.

[Gallery label text, 2002]

John Gordon, New York; given to the Gallery in 1973

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