The fine quality of this ciborium, its restrained elegance, and use of neo-classical elements relate to similar pieces executed by artist members of the Academy of San Carlos (See two monstrances in the collection of the Franz Mayer Museum, Mexico, and illustrated in El Arte de la Plateria Mexicana, 500 Aos, exhibition catalogue, Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporneo, Mexico, 1989).
This academy set up in Mexico in 1781 had its origins in an informal school founded by Gernimo Antonio Gil at the Royal Mint in 1778 for apprentice engravers and medallists. In 1781, Gil proposed to expand the school's program to the fine arts, inspired by the training available for artists at the Fine Arts Academy of San Fernando in Madrid and the Academy of San Carlos in Valencia. The academy was officially established in 1785 when it was granted a royal charter by king Charles IV of Spain.
Under the patronage of the Bourbon monarchy and in an effort to uproot the more traditional exuberant Rococo style, the academy played an instrumental role in the dissemination of the Neo-classical taste and in the propagation of the Enlightenment ideals in the visual and decorative arts, especially for public commissions. Although criticized by some Mexican intellectuals for its imposition of Spanish academism and its political agenda, the academy greatly contributed to the introduction of Mexican artists to a new stylistic vocabulary, ushering in the transition between the Rococo and the Neo-classicism. Surviving works of art of the period attest to the remarkable formal, decorative, and technical level of crafstmanship attained under its auspices (Mexico. Splendors of Thirty Centuries, exhibition catalogue, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1991).