José Aragón
Active 1820-1835

Among the most influential santeros of devotional art was José Aragón. His images vary in subject matter more than any other santero suggesting he had access to printed sources, which he often followed closely. He also included on many of his retablos an escutcheon (a shield-like shape in a painting that contains writing) with an inscribed prayer that indicates he could read and write; a trait found among the upper classes of Mexicans. He utilized a variety of formats, color schemes and decorative motifs as well as signed and dated many of his works.

According to inscriptions on a few of his pieces, José Aragón ran a taller, possibly with his brother José Rafael Aragón whose work is often confused with his. Their similar carving style, palette and techniques suggest the two worked and trained together. In general, José Aragón’s style is characterized by delicate features, almond shaped eyes, plump cheeks and well-proportioned figures.