Our Lady Refuge of Sinners (Nuestra Señora del Refugio de los Pecadores)

Unidentified Peruvian artistearly 18th century

de Young Museum

de Young Museum

This painting depicts the patroness of the California missions, Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners. The Latin text at the bottom is from the Litany of the Virgin Mary, invoking her intercession to obtain forgiveness for sins: "Refuge of Sinners, pray for us." In 1719 a Jesuit missionary brought an original image of Our Lady of Refuge from Italy to Mexico, and in 1843 the first Catholic Bishop of California, Francisco Diego Garcia, proclaimed this image of the Virgin as the patroness of both Baja (Lower) and Alta (Upper) California. This oil painting is often exhibited like an alter with modern votive candles as a reminder to viewers that objects in museums often retain their original meanings, even after being removed from their original contexts. The "Pancho Villa"� candle reveals the status of this Mexican Revolutionary general as a secular saint for many Mexicans, while candles labeled "Juan Soldado" (Joe Soldier) typically are used by families praying for members serving in the armed forces.

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  • Title: Our Lady Refuge of Sinners (Nuestra Señora del Refugio de los Pecadores)
  • Creator: Unidentified Peruvian artist
  • Date: early 18th century
  • media: oil on canvas
  • credit line: Dr. Ernest Forbes Memorial Collection
  • Physical Dimensions: w24 7/8 x h33 3/8 inches
  • Type: Painting


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