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Our Father Jesus of Nazareth

ca. 1885 José Benito Ortega Born: La Cueva, New Mexico 1858 Died: Raton, New Mexico 1941 carved and painted wood, painted cloth, and leather with metal 30 x 9 3/8 x 9 3/8 in. (76.2 x 23.8 x 23.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.258 Not currently on view


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The arms on this figure of Jesus can be positioned to represent different episodes from the Passion, such as the scourging at the pillar, the presentation of Christ, and the deposition from the Cross. The image of the scourged Jesus was an important one to a group called Los Hermanos Penitentes (the Penitent Brothers), because they believed it represented the pain of human existence. In this piece, José Ortega painted Jesus’s wounds a vivid red to emphasize the extent of his suffering. The Penitentes carry figures like this through the small towns of New Mexico and Southern California during Holy Week to remind them of Jesus’s sacrifice.

Keywords

Religion - New Testament - Christ

sculpture

folk art

fabric

metal - iron

plaster - gesso

wood

About José Benito Ortega

Born: La Cueva, New Mexico 1858 Died: Raton, New Mexico 1941

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José Benito Ortega

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