Saint Joseph and the Christ Child

Saint Joseph and the Christ Child

c. 1700-1730
unknown artist
Cuzco, Peru
Peruvian Colonial
Oil paint and gold on canvas
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Engracia Freyer Dougherty for the Frank Barrows Freyer Collection

Unknown artist, St. Joseph and the Christ Child, about 1700-1730. Oil paint and gold on canvas; 31¼ × 26½ in. Gift of Engracia Freyer Dougherty for the Frank Barrows Freyer Collection at the Denver Art Museum, 1969.354.

travel frame height: 58.5 in, 148.5900 cm; travel frame width: 40 in, 101.6000 cm; image height: 31.25 in, 79.3750 cm; image width: 26.5 in, 67.3100 cm; frame height: 52 in, 132.0800 cm; frame width: 35 in, 88.9000 cm; frame depth: 2 in, 5.0800 cm
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art

St. Joseph, often depicted with a stalk of lilies as seen here, lovingly holds the infant Jesus. The artist who created this painting would have worked from a European print source to develop the subject matter, overall composition and symbolism in the painting. While at first glance this might look to be a European style religious painting there are some elements that make it uniquely Peruvian. The extraordinary use of gold stamping to create the pattern on the cloth is exclusive to Cuzco and the surrounding highland areas, including Bolivia. Also, the densely painted ring of flowers that surround the perimeter of the painting is often seen in paintings of Cuzco. Although Lima became the political capital of colonial Peru, Cuzco remained its artistic capital, as it had been in Inca times.
--Julie Wilson Frick & Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Gifted 24 October 1969 by Mrs. Engracia Freyer Dougherty [1910-1977], Denver, CO to the Denver Art Museum. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • "Three Southern Neighbors - Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia," Newark Museum, April 14-December 31, 1942
  • "The Frank Barrows Freyer Collection of Spanish-Peruvian Paintings," Lowe Art Gallery, University of Miami, November 14, 1961-January 28, 1962
  • "Treasures from Peru: Spanish Colonial Paintings from the School of Cuzco," Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, 1967
  • "The Frank Barrows Freyer Collection of Spanish Peruvian Paintings in the Denver Art Museum," The High Museum of Art, December 7-29, 1969.

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