Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Charles Shindo


In 1846, the United States of America began a war with the Republic of Mexico. When it was over, one of the results was the acquisition of much of current California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, southern Colorado and New Mexico. The region was occupied by Catholic Mexicans, a fact not lost on the American Catholic hierarchy. The result is the sending of a new religious administration and the founding of what would become the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The clergy sent were French with French notions of civilization, culture, and proper Catholic theology. These views and notions were contrary to those held by the Spanish-speaking population of the region and a struggle began. By using the religious art of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and secondarily the architecture, found in several sacred sites, in a number of different locations, the depth of French clerical influence is measured from the years 1830 through 1910. The iconography of the subjects is examined as well as the forms of the art, where they are placed, and the history of each in the French or Spanish traditions. Through the use of inventories and written records kept by the Spanish and Mexican priests and the post-American conquest records of photographs, and studies by anthropologists, art historians, folklorists, and historians change can be traced. Not surprisingly, Santa Fe, the political, economic and ecclesiastical center of the new archdiocese reflected the maximum amount of change in the religious art and architecture in the Catholic church while the sites located in the rest of the study reflect less and less influence the farther from the center of power they are with the moradas of the Pentitential brotherhoods showing no influence at all.