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Caritas, or Charity, is the Virtue beautifully featured on Nevada’s 1 Goldback Denomination. This is her first appearance on a Goldback Design, and is notably patterned after a depiction of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Austin, Nevada. Catholicism is Nevada’s most dominant religion and St. Augustine’s is the oldest Catholic Church building in the state. Like all Goldback designs, the art contains many levels of symbolism. Some major symbols of Charity featured include: the Sierra Nevada Lily, which is in the container below Mary’s feet to the right; the Mary Magdalene Rose, in the container on the left; cherubs crowning Mary and Burning Hearts to either side of her; Charity’s lit candle in her hand, and Nevada’s sun, rising over the mountains seen through the window behind her.
The window, the candlestick in the right corner of the window sill and the columns on each side of the design, are each inspired from St. Mary of the Mountains Catholic Cathedral in Virginia City, (now, Saint Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church & Museum), which was also an inspiration for this artwork. The window below Mary’s dress hides the word “Love”, the symbol of a square, a compass, a wagon wheel, and rosary beads. The viewer will also note the ash tree, symbolizing marriage and Las Vegas’s status as the marriage capital of the world; and a family of ring-necked pheasants, which showcase the selfless acts of nurture and protecting their family and young.