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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 18th century: La Virgen del pilar
José Campeche y Jordan

José Campeche y Jordan

(born San Juan, Puerto Rico 1751 -- died San Juan, Puerto Rico 1809)

Hear staff member Tierney talk about Puerto Rican art 2.5MB

José Campeche was the most important painter of portraits and religious imagery in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Puerto Rico. He learned his skills from his father, a slave who purchased his freedom by carving altarpieces. José worked as a decorator and gilder before becoming a prominent portraitist. He probably learned about composition, style, and painting technique from imported prints and books as well as from the exiled Spanish court painter Luis Paret y Alcázar, who lived in Puerto Rico from 1775 through 1778. The details of Campeche's life remain mysterious because his belongings were destroyed after his death.

Image Credits: Courtesy Joseph and Carmen Ana Unanue