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Josť Benito Ortega
Our Father Jesus of Nazareth
about 1885
painted wood and cloth with leather
30 x 9 3/8 x 9 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson



The most prolific santero of the second half of the nineteenth century, Ortega culminated a long Spanish and Mexican tradition that was transformed by New Mexican carvers into a distinctive regional expression. Many of Ortega's figures, including Our Father Jesus of Nazareth, were roughly carved from boards discarded by lumber mills, which explains their flatness. This figure's small size and supporting wooden slats indicate that it was dressed and carried in processions, probably by members of the Penitente brotherhood during Holy Week.



En Ortega, el santero más prolífico de la segunda mitad del siglo XIX, culmina una larga tradición española y mexicana que transformaron los imagineros de Nuevo México en una expresión regional distintiva. Muchas de las figuras de Ortega, incluida la de Nuestro Padre Jesús de Nazareth, son tallas sin desbastar para las que utilizaba tablones desechados por las fábricas de madera, lo que explica su perfil plano. El pequeño tamaño de esta figura y los listones que la soportan indican que era una imagen de vestir que salía en las procesiones de Semana Santa, probablemente portada por miembros de la cofradía de los penitentes.