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Santa Rita de Casia

late 18th-early 19th century Felipe de la Espada Born: San German, Puerto Rico Died: San Germán, Puerto Rico 1818 carved and painted wood with glass 19 1/4 x 7 3/8 x 6 1/4 in. (48.9 x 18.8 x 15.9 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Teodoro Vidal Collection 1996.91.40 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing


Luce Center Label

Conservation of this santo revealed red marks representing blood and a faded trace of a thorn on the figure’s forehead beneath layers of paint. These are symbols of St. Rita, who spent her days meditating on Christ’s sacrifice at the Monastery of the Hermits of Saint Augustine in Casia, Spain. This santo is meant to be dressed with textiles representing her habit. Her arms have been lost and she no longer wears a wig. The figure was found in a peasant home in the rural district of Minillas in San Germán, Puerto Rico. In its early colonial years, Puerto Rico had very few priests and it was difficult for those who lived in remote areas to attend church. As a result, rural Puerto Ricans worshiped at home before altars filled with santos, such as this Santa Rita.

Keywords

Religion - saint - St. Rita

sculpture

glass

wood

About Felipe de la Espada

Born: San German, Puerto Rico Died: San Germán, Puerto Rico 1818

More works in the collection by
Felipe de la Espada

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