Saint Joseph Holding the Christ Child

Saint Joseph Holding the Christ Child

circa 1710
Melchor Pérez Holguín, Bolivian, 1660-1732
Born: Cochabamba
Work Locations: Potosi, Bolivia
Potosi School
Oil paint and gold leaf on canvas.
Accession Number
Credit Line
Bequest of Robert J. Stroessner

Melchor Pérez de Holguín, Saint Joseph Holding the Christ Child, about 1710. Oil paint and gold leaf on canvas; 22¾ × 17¾ in. Bequest of Robert J. Stroessner, 1992.67.

image height: 22.75 in, 57.7850 cm; image width: 17.75 in, 45.0850 cm; frame height: 33 in, 83.8200 cm; frame width: 28 in, 71.1200 cm
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art
This object is currently on view

Melchor Perez Holguín was a mestizo (Spanish and Indigenous) painter born in Cochabamba, Bolivia around 1665. He was trained as an artist in the European Baroque style, particularly influenced by Murillo and Zurbarán, and spent his life painting in Potosí where he had a large workshop. He is widely considered as the most skilled and influential colonial artist of Bolivia. His paintings were exported throughout South America.

This image of St. Joseph holding the Christ child and white lilies was painted by Holguín using a European print source, however the Christ Child wears a woven belt in the Andean style, a distinctive local addition. The use of gold leaf patterning in the halo and lace trim is exclusive to Cuzco and the surrounding highland areas of Bolivia.

-- Julie Wilson Frick & Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Collection of the Aguero family of Bolivia and São Paolo, Brazil by 1867; By descent to heirs, including Carlos Martin Lora Garcia, Sao Paulo; Collection of Robert J. Stroessner [1942-1991], Denver, CO, through (Carlos Osuna), Santa Barbara, CA, 1986; Bequest of Robert Stroessner to the Denver Art Museum, 1992.