Hispanic Religious Gallery
This gallery features the Hispanic religious collecton. These religious arts reflect the isolation of the region from the Spanish Empire ion the New World.
The Museum has a superb collection of Hispanic religious art, spanning from the arrival of Spanish Friars to contemporary examples of living santeros.
The first santeros were believed to be friars and artisans from Mexico. The emergence of the santero tradition in Northern New Mexico can be traced to formally trained Mexican artists who passed their methods on to villagers in New Mexico and Colorado. As the art form developed, both male and female artisans participated in the production of these images, coming to be known as santeros and santeras.
Many of these images were created for use by Los Hermanos Penitentes. The Brotherhood of Our father Jesus the Nazarene is an organization of laymen who originally ministered to many villages and communities in Northern New Mexico, a large geographical area with relatively few ordained priests to serve the religious needs of the population. Penitente religious practices and iconography represent a regional development of early Franciscan teachings in the 1600s.