San Juan Nepomuceno

image for San Juan Nepomuceno
Luce Center Label
Saint John Nepomuk is represented in this santo with a tilted head, placid expression, and outstretched arms to convey the great compassion for which he was venerated throughout the Spanish colonies. Saint John was born in the town of Nepomuk in today’s Czech Republic. He became the vicar-general of Prague, but King Wenceslaus IV had him thrown from a bridge into the river Moldau in 1393 when John refused to reveal details of the queen’s confession. After he was made a saint in 1729, John’s popularity spread throughout Europe and the New World, where priests eagerly promoted the veneration of the patron saint of confession. In certain regions St. John also served as the patron saint of irrigation, bridges, and other engineering projects. (Andrew Connors, “José Campeche’s San Juan Nepomuceno,” American Art, Summer 1997)
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Teodoro Vidal Collection
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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Painting and Sculpture
On View
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing
late 18th-early 19th century
Object number
Felipe de la Espada, born San Germán, Puerto Rico ca. 1754-died San Germán, Puerto Rico 1818
Religion\saint\St. John
carved and painted wood
9 3/8 x 3 5/8 x 2 3/4 in. (23.7 x 9.3 x 7.0 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum