CDU Blog

CDU Student Gets Creative to Earn a Catholic Art Education.

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Mon, Jun 05, 2017 @ 04:41 PM

Jacqueline Renee Del Curto’s higher education involved three schools and four countries.

She began her education in Liberal Arts at Holy Cross College and at Thomas More College in New Hampshire before adding a semester abroad in Rome.  Jacqueline had always desired a Catholic education for her mind, and a technical artistic education for her hands. Eying the art scene in Florence, she transferred to CDU’s BA in Theology completion program so she could enroll in the Russian Academy of Art Program in Florence.  Jacqueline studied drawing and painting, earning a program certificate before apprenticing for 6 months with a Catholic artist, James Gillick in England.   CDU gave Jacqueline academic opportunity to earn a Catholic degree while tecnically studying art around the globe.  She completed her studies in 2015 and is now teaching art and taking on commissions.  Jacqueline shares her vision on a recent commissioned painting for a mission parish in French Camp, California.  It is called “My Good Shepherd.”


  1. Coat of Arms, Vatican City 
  2. Immaculate Heart of Mary: family devotion of patron.
  3. Official seal of San Joaquin County
  4. Madonna lilies (Lilium candidum): symbol of purity and innocence. The Madonna lily is most likely the inspiration behind the fleur-de-lis symbol, and traditionally represents the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
  5. Beaver: tribute to historic French Camp. Affiliated with the California Fur Rush, French Camp was also referred to as “castoria,” deriving from the Latin word “castor,” meaning “beaver.” 
  6. Peacock: symbol of immortality and the Resurrection. The ancient Greeks believed the flesh of the peacock did not decay after death, ultimately making the bird a Christian symbol of hope in eternal life. 
  7. California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica)
  8. Hand Gesture: sign of blessing. Originally derived from a gesture used in ancient Rome to indicate speaking (adlocutio), the gesture containing two raised fingers gained popularity as a Christian symbol in art after Constantine's issue of the Edict of Milan in 313 AD. 
  9. Palm Branch: symbol of victory. Awarded to ancient Greek athletes and used in ancient Rome as an attribute of Victory personified, the palm branch evolved into a symbol of victory over the bondage of sin.
  10. Coat of Arms, Florence, Italy: tribute to where artist Jacqueline R. Del Curto studied drawing and painting. The Florentine fleur-de-lis contains stamens interposed between its petals, in contrast to French fleur-de-lis, which contain only petals. 
  11. Sacred Heart of Jesus: family devotion of patron. 
  12. Official seal of the Diocese of Stockton
  13. Pomegranate (Punica granatum): symbol of prosperity and fertility across different cultures since antiquity because of its bountiful seeds and affiliation with the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.