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Christ Child of Atocha

ca. 1960s Frank Brito Born: Albuquerque, New Mexico 1922 Died: Santa Fe, New Mexico 2005 paint on wood 8 5/8 x 6 1/2 x 3 5/8 in. (21.9 x 16.5 x 9.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1997.124.53 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 26B


Luce Center Label

The Spanish city of Atocha was occupied by the Moors in the fifteenth century. Many Christians were imprisoned and only children were allowed to bring food and water to the captives. One day, a child dressed as a pilgrim carried a basket of bread and a canteen of water into the prison. When he had given food and water to every man the guards were astonished to find that the basket and canteen were still full. The people of Atocha believed that Christ had heard their prayers and had come back in the form of the child to save them. Frank Brito carved this figure holding out the basket of bread to emphasize Christ’s rewards for the faithful. He used simple shapes and little embellishment to show that even the most humble of gifts can save lives.

Keywords

Dress - accessory - cane

Dress - accessory - hat

Object - foodstuff - beverage

Object - foodstuff - bread

Object - furniture - chair

Object - other - basket

Religion - New Testament - Christ

sculpture

folk art

paint

wood - pine

About Frank Brito

Born: Albuquerque, New Mexico 1922 Died: Santa Fe, New Mexico 2005

More works in the collection by
Frank Brito