San Juan Nepomuceno

Media - 1996.91.5 - SAAM-1996.91.5_1 - 12723
Copied José Campeche y Jordán, San Juan Nepomuceno, ca. 1798, oil on canvas, 41 3429 12 in. (106.174.9 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Teodoro Vidal Collection, 1996.91.5
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Artwork Details

San Juan Nepomuceno
ca. 1798
41 3429 12 in. (106.174.9 cm.)
Credit Line
Teodoro Vidal Collection
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Figure
  • Object — foliage — palm
  • Object — written matter — book
  • Emblem — cross
  • Religion — saint — St. John
Object Number

Artwork Description

The halo of five stars around the head of San Juan Nepomuceno, the patron saint of confessors, spells out TACUI, Latin for "I did not speak." The letters lead the viewer's eye to the figure of Christ, the object of the saint's devotion. This painting reminded priests of their obligation to remain silent regarding what they heard from those they absolved. José Campeche, a descendant of freed slaves, made a career for himself as an artist and architect, using colonial, European, and folk traditions to create distinctively Puerto Rican artwork at the close of the eighteenth-century.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006