The Shadow of the Cross
Inside, the whitewashed walls are covered with santos and retablos in an adjoining room is another, more modern attraction, an 1896 painting by a French Canadian artist named Henri Ault ($3 donation).
The eight-foot-high canvas depicts Jesus in front of the Sea of Galilee; when the lights in the small room are extinguished, it begins to luminesce, and the life-size figure of Christ soon appears ready to step off the rocks and into the room.
Some people also see the shape of a cross over Christ’s shoulder, or a glowing halo. This “miracle” painting caused quite a sensation when Ault first made it—he claimed to be baffled by the odd phenomenon—and it was even shown at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. After it spent years of exhibition in Europe, a wealthy Texan woman bought the painting, known as The Shadow of the Cross and donated it to the church.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition