National Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15–October 15

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Click here to learn more.

Discover Connections to Hispanic Heritage in Joslyn's Collection

The artist commonly known as Molleno worked as a santero (maker of religious images) in northern New Mexico from about 1805 to about 1850. This particular painting by Molleno is exceptional as it is only one of fifty paintings on animal hide known today to have survived from the early colonial New Mexican period.

During the revolt by Pueblo Indians against the Spanish conquerors in 1680, many Spanish missions and their contents were destroyed throughout New Mexico. In the early 1700s, Franciscan friars rebuilt the missions using whatever local materials were at hand. Because animal hides were more plentiful than painters’ canvases, priests used skins as the support upon which to paint devotional images for their altars. Paintings on animal hides, however, were by 1820 deemed to be unsuitable for the display of sacred images, and such works were largely destroyed.

Click here to learn more with the Teaching Poster.

What's Pictured: (top to bottom) Santero of Nambe Molleno (New Mexican, active 1805–ca.1850), Major Saint James (Santiago de Compostella), before 1820, oil on buffalo hide, 33 x 30 in., Gift of Mrs. A.H. Richardson, 1956.99