Painted by José Campeche
Archdiocese of San Juan Collection

  • Wednesday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday to Sunday 11:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.


The collection of the Archdiocese of San Juan is made up of sixty-one works, which in addition to having great artistic and aesthetic value, constitute an important part of the historical memory of the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico. Twenty-three of them are by the distinguished painter José Campeche y Jordán (1751-1809), one of the most important artists of the Caribbean basin in the 18th century. His works in the collection are mostly portraits of bishops, religious scenes, invocations of the Virgin and saints, and two of them of historical theme, both of invaluable significance.

The great majority of the painter's historians agree that he spent most of his life on the islet of San Juan. However, what today seems to us a small geographical area was a whole universe for the artist. The church and the royal militias were the two powers that ruled during this time. Campeche not only painted for the clergy and was a musician at the cathedral, but he also formed part of the troops that defended the city during the English siege in 1797 and was a visual chronicler of this attempted invasion.

Painted by José Campeche is accompanied by texts in which Arturo Dávila, historian of the collection of the Archdiocese, and René Taylor, British Hispanist and former director of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, two of the great scholars of Campeche, exchange views on eight works on display.

The exhibition is an invitation to walk the streets of San Juan and to get to know the churches and buildings where many of José Campeche's paintings were originally displayed. The facades and street names correspond to the current ones, so that the viewer can recognize the buildings and places that made up the universe of this mixed race man, son of a freed slave and a Spanish woman from the Canary Islands. The exhibition works like a large scale model, as a workspace, for all those who want to discuss topics as varied as the role of the church in the 18th century, the architectural monuments of the city, the geopolitical framework of the Antillean colonies... in short, so that we can get to know and imagine the world that our artist painted.