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Creating the Virgin of Guadalupe: The Cloth, the Artist, and Sources in Sixteenth-Century New Spain

  • Jeanette Favrot Peterson (a1)


It was in 1531 that, according to the apparition legend first recorded over a hundred years later in 1648, Juan Diego’s visionary experience of the Virgin of Guadalupe was miraculously mapped onto his tilma (tilmatli in Nahuatl) or woven cloak. This painted cloth, hereafter referred to as the tilma image, is said to be the same relic venerated today in the basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City (fig. 1). However, no sacred image is invented from whole cloth, to use a highly appropriate metaphor here, and the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe is no exception. Moreover, its very materiality makes it vulnerable to the passage of time, the laws of physics and human intervention. As an object of human craft produced post-Conquest, it has a traceable genealogy within the combustible mix of art modes, mixed media and theological tracts found circulating in early colonial New Spain.



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1 Sánchez, Miguel, Imagen de la Virgen María Madre de Dios de Guadalupe (México: Bernardo Calderón, 1648), fol. 39.

2 José Sol Rosales, at the time director of the Centro de Registro y Conservación in Mexico city, conducted a microscopic exam of the tilma painting in November of 1982 and concluded that the Virgin of Guadalupe image was the result of human craft. The report he submitted was suppressed by church officials who were fearful that it would derail the canonization proceedings of Juan Diego. Part of Rosales’s conclusions appeared in the popular press in spring of 2002 when the canonization was confirmed. Much of the following information on the condition and materials of the tilma painting was derived during a personal conversation with Sol Rosales (July, 2003) and articles by Rodrigo Vera citing the Rosales report (Proceso, 2002, number s 1332, 1333, 1334). On the long polemic surrounding the canonization process, see Nolasco, Manuel Olimón, La busqueda de Juan Diego (México: Plaza y Janés, 2002).

3 Rosales, personal communication, 2003. In 1766, 51 cm. of the cloth were cut off in order to fit the tilma image into a new frame. Published measurements of the tilma vary from 1.75 × 1.09 m at its largest down to 1.72 × 1.05 m. The textile is slightly trapezoidal, measuring ca. 109.7 cm. at the bottom and 109.5 cm. at the top.

4 Anawalt, Patricia Rieff, Indian Clothing Before Cortés (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981), pp. 2731 ; Durán, Diego, Historia de las Indias de Nueva España [1581], Ma, Angel. K., Garibay, ed. (México: Ed. Porrua, 1967), volume 2, pp. 211213.

5 Sánchez, Imagen, fol. 43.

6 García, Luis Reyes, Anales de Juan Bautista (México: Biblioteca Lorenzo Boturini, Insigne y Nacional Basilica de Guadalupe, 2001), numbers 24, 77, 278.

7 This was, and is, a common preparatory stage for paintings on textile that pro-apparition scholars repeatedly deny in order to distance the work from traditional artistic practices and human manufacture. In addition, Jorge Guadarrama concludes that colored underpaints were used in places (in Garza-Valdes, Tepeyac, chap. 20).

8 Callahan, Philip Serna, The Tilma under Infra-Red Radiation, CARA: Vol. II Guadalupana Studies, No. 3 (Washington D.C., 1981), pp. 67, 18–19.

9 These include the black soot from burnt pine, copper (blues/greens) and iron (browns) oxides, and a combination of vermillion and the native-derived cochinilla for the reds, all pigments commonly available to sixteenth-century artists.

10 Miguel Sánchez (Imagen, fol. 49), for example, indicated the use of tempera (al temple) in the painting method. In 1751, the famed artist Miguel Cabrera and his investigative team of six other painters detected four different techniques in the Guadalupe work, including oil, tempera with agglutinates, an “aguazo,” and a type of fresco-like tempera. In spite of their findings, as devout Guadalupanos they ultimately decreed that the work was not by human hands but was an “American wonder” ( Cabrera, Miguel, Maravilla americana y conjunto de Raras Maravillas…en la prodigiosa Imagen de Nuestra Sra. De Guadalupe de México [1756], México: Editorial Jus facsimile edition, 1977, pp. 2829).

11 de Cabrera, Cayetano y Quintero, , Escudo de Armas de México: celestial protección … Ma. Santissima en su portentosa imagen del Mexicano Guadalupe (México: Vda. De D. Joseph Bernardo de Hogal, 1746), number 721, III, ch. XVIII; Sánchez, Imagen, fol. 82; Florencia, Francisco de, La Estrella de el Norte de México (Barcelona: Antonio Velázquez, 1741 ed.), fol. 193v.; Cabrera, Maravilla, fols. 2–3. Flaking paint in the marginal areas was already noted in the second half of the seventeenth century but always contrasted with the incorrumptible holy figure herself (Florencia, Estrella, fols. 26v., 30v).

12 Unnamed sixteenth-century caretakers doctored the image by “adorning it with cherubims” that encircled the solar mandorla (Florencia, Estrella, fol. 30v.); poorly painted they soon deteriorated and were erased.

13 Sánchez (Imagen, fol. 39v) notes the “royal crown which rests on the mantle, with points and merlons of gold on the blue,” and Florencia (Estrella, fol. 29) places a crown on Guadalupe’s head shawl “with golden points,” a description that endures through the eighteenth century (Cabrera, Maravilla, p. 25) until the late nineteenth century, both in texts and consistently in the visual arts. It is possible that Guadalupe’s crown was first painted out sometime in the late seventeenth century ( Florencia, Francisco de, Zodiaco Mariano, edited and added to by Oviedo, P. Juan Antonio de, México: Colegio de San Ildefonso, 1755, p. 41).

14 As recently confirmed by Cuadriello, Jaime (Zodiaco Mariano, México D.F.: Museo de la Basílica de Guadalupe, 2004). The most dramatic modifications are proposed by the microbiologist, Dr.Garza-Valdés, Leoncio A. (Tepeyac: cinco siglos de engaño, México, D. F.: Plaza y Janés, 2002, pp. 2227), who posits three superimposed paintings on the tilma image. He claims that the earliest was a Madonna and child which, according to his interpretation of photographs taken with ultraviolet filters, includes a date of 1556 and the initials M.A., presumably for Marcos Aquino. The second overlaid painting dates to 1625 and may be the work of Juan Arrua Calzonzi and, he suggests, the third and final painting bears a faint date of 1632. However, these latter layers postdate the first exact copy (signed and dated) of the Virgin of Guadalupe executed in 1606 by Baltasar de Echave Orio. Photographs of these overpaintings are not available in the Garza-Valdés 2002 publication.

15 del Castillo, Bernal Diaz, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (México: Ed. Porrua, 1960), volume 1, pp. 36, 119–20, 223–24.

16 See O’Gorman, Edmundo, Destierro de Sombras (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1986), pp. 1520 ; Poole, Stafford, Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Origins and Sources of a Mexican National Symbol: 1531–1797 (Tucson and London: The University of Arizona Press, 1995), pp.1599.

17 On the initial “invention” of the Guadalupe apparition story in two important creole treatises of 1648 and 1649 by Miguel Sánchez and Luis Lasso de la Vega, see de la Maza, Francisco, El Guadalupanismo mexicano (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1981 [1953]); Lafaye, Jacques, Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness, 1532–1815, translated by Keen, Benjamin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), pp. 24253 ; de la Torre Villar, Ernesto and de Anda, Ramiro Navarro, Testimonios históricos guadalupanos (México: Fondo de cultura económica, 1982), pp. 7499 ; Peterson, Jeanette Favrotz, “The Virgin of Guadalupe: Symbol of Conquest or Liberation?Art Journal, 51:4 (Winter 1992), pp. 3947 ; Poole, Our Lady, pp. 100–155; Brading, David A., Mexican Phoenix: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 5495.

18 Three native texts are generally cited, the Anales de Juan Bautista, the Historia of don Domingo de Chimalpahin and the so-called Annals “Anonymous A” which are analyzed and compared by Poole, Our Lady, pp. 49–68; and O’Gorman, Destierro, pp. 27–29.

19 The Anales de Juan Bautista is a small (10.5 by 31 cm) manuscript on vellum currently housed in the archives of the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City. The material I cite is a compilation of notes taken from the original manuscript, a transcription and translation by Don Vicente de Paul Andrade (Col. Gomez de Orozco numberl4, BNAH, Mexico City), as well as those portions used by Velázquez, Primo Feliciano, La Aparición de Sta. Maria de Guadalupe (México: Patricio Sanz, 1931), pp. 5558 and Ma., Angel K., Garibay, “Temas Guadalupanos,” Abside 9 (1945, number 1), pp.3564 and “Temas Guadalupanos: El Diario de Juan Bautista,” Abside 9 (1945, number 2), pp.155-69. Most complete is the recent Spanish translation from the Nahuatl of the Anales de Juan Bautista in the edition by Reyes Garcia. It is his system of paragraph numeration that I adopt in this paper when citing the Anales.

20 Reyes García, Anales, pp. 19, 23–25; number 215.

21 Reyes Garcia, Anales, number 223. In the Anales (number 158) artists are called toltecaye. On the importance of the Tolteca artistic heritage both for the Aztecs and post contact, see Sahagún, Bernardino de, Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Spain., translated and edited by Anderson, Arthur J. O and Dibble, Charles (Santa Fe and Salt Lake City: The School of American Research and The University of Utah, 195082), Book 10:27, 167, 176; and Peterson, Jeanette Favrot, “Crafting the Self: Identity and the Mimetic Tradition in the Florentine Codex,” In Sahagún at 500: Essays on the Quincentenary of the Birth of Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún, OFM., edited by Schwaller, John (Berkeley, CA: Academy of American Franciscan History, 2003), pp. 23743.

22 Recorded are the deaths of the painters Hernando Tlacacochi (on 1/30/1565), Martin Mixcohuatl (on 2/26/66); and the age of Marcos Tlacuilo as 52 years in 1565 (Reyes García, Anales, numbers 19, 350, 352).

23 Reyes García, Anales, numbers 69, 79, 84, 130, 133, 136, 169, 216, 220.

24 See Peterson, Jeanette Favrot, The Paradise Garden Murals of Malinalco: Utopia and Empire in Sixteenth-Century Mexico (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993) pp. 1922, 50–52. On the architectural history of the mosque-like chapel of San José, see Kubler, George, Mexican Architecture of the Sixteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), volume 2, pp. 46668 ; McAndrew, John, The Open-Air Churches of Sixteenth-century Mexico (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1965), pp. 36899.

25 Reyes Garcia, Anales, number 56. Chimalpahin similarly uses the verb neci (monextitzino) when he notes in his history that the year 12 flint or 1556 was the year “when our precious mother Saint Mary of Guadalupe appeared at Tepeyacac” [ypan in yhcuac monextitzino yn totlagonantzin Sancta Maria Guadalope yn Tepeyacac] (cited in Poole, Our Lady, p. 52).

26 Molina, Alonso de, Vocabulario en lengua Castellana y Mexicana, y Mexicana y Castellana [1555] (Mexico: Ed. Porrúa, 1977), fol. 64v.

27 Reyes García, Anales, pp. 53–54. See also O’Gorman, Destierro, p. 29, and Poole, Our Lady, p. 51.1 am grateful to James Lockhart for assistance with this translation (personal communication, December 12, 1996). Apparitionists have used this ambivalent significance of neci to maintain the earlier 1531 date for the supernatural appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe and justify 1555 as only one public occasion among several in which the tilma image was physically displayed (Velázquez, La aparición, pp. 51–58; Garibay K., Temas guadalupanos, p. 57).

28 Reyes García, Anales, numbers 220, 262.

29 Reyes García, Anales, number 32: “Tlama in Villaseca quinexti yn ixiptlatzin tonantzi[n] ça[n] moch teocuitlat;” or in the Spanish translation, “Allá hizo ofreda Villaseca, mostró la imagen de nuestra madre que hizo toda de metal precioso.”

30 Villaseca’s beneficence to the Guadalupe shrine is also manifest by his philanthropic construction of a hospice (“dormitory for the ill”) and the hosting of a dinner for officials from both Spanish and indigenous communities, to let it be known that he was “taking the church at Tepeyac for himself” (Reyes Garcia, Armies, number 32)—in other words, that he was intending to sustain the shrine and its good works.

31 Poole, Our Lady, p. 58.

32 Clendinnen, Inga (“Ways to the Sacred,” History and Anthropology, v. 5: 1990, p. 122), however, also makes the inscrutably nuanced distinction that the ixiptla or god-representations did not “contain sacred power.”

33 Reyes García, Anales, number 220.

34 In the sixteenth-century annals called the Anales antiguos de México y sus contornos or “Anónimo A” the entry reads as follows: “1556: 12 tecpatl. Hual temohui cihuapilli tepeyacac, ça ye no yquac popocac citlallin” (cited in Poole, Our Lady, p. 53).

35 The Council of Trent (1545-63) dealt with the seductive potential for “false worship” of images in its 25th or last session, when it issued a brief but very influential statement on the proper role of sacred images within the Church.

36 The transcribed interrogation is found in its entirety with a commentary, as “Información por el sermón de 1556” in Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, pp. 43–72.

37 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 59.

38 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 45.

39 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 58.

40 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 71.

41 Poole, Our Lady, pp. 62–63; see also Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 106.

42 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 63.

43 Reyes García, Anales, numbers 253, 278, 327, 342.

44 Lorenzot, Francisco del Barrio, Ordenanzas de gremios de la Nueva España (México: Dir. de Talleres Graficos, 1921), pp. 2125.

45 Peterson, Paradise pp. 43–44; Stampa, Manuel Carrera, Los Gremios Mexicanos, 1521–1861 (México: Ibero-Americano, 1954), pp. 22526 . In the Anales de Juan Bautista several native artists were singled out as masters in the painters’ guild. Moreover, certain responsibilities were allocated to different officials, such as selecting the head painter (tlacuillocan or capitán de los pintores) in 1568 (Reyes García, Anales, p. 48, number 116; pp. 180–181).

46 Torquemada, Juan de, Monarquía Indiana (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1975), volume 5, p. 317.

47 Reyes García, Anales, number 261.

48 Reyes García, Anales, p. 205, note 94. Specific entries where he is named in the Anales (citing the Reyes García edition) include as Marcos Cipac (numbers 159, 294); as Marcos Tlacuilol (numbers 169, 265, 352); and as just Marcos (numbers 169, 172, 177, 178, 261).

49 In addition to Marcos tlacuilo, the team of four included Pedro Chachalaca, Francisco Xinmamal and Pedro Nicolás; to complete the retable, Marcos Cipac and Francisco Xinmamal were joined by Martin Mixcohuatl (an alguacil) and Pedro Cocol (Reyes García, Anales, numbers 169, 294).

50 Reyes García, Anales, number 327 and p. 47. With one exception: Martin Mixcoahuat from San Pablo Teopan. Two artists are not included in Reyes García’s list by parcialidad.

51 The progress of the altarpiece is recorded in multiple entries found in Reyes García, Anales, numbers 157, 160, 169, 189, 292, 294, 327. In the Codex Aubin, the entry records Christmas Day of 1564 as the day on which the retable was inaugurated: ynic XXV deziembre yn lonestica omoma yn table sant Joseph manse ( Dibble, Charles E., editor, Codice de 1576 or Codice Aubin [Historia de la Nación Mexicana], Madrid: Ed. José Porrua Turanzas,1963, pp. 76, 105 ). When a new altarpiece was made for the main altar of San José in 1608, either the old retable was disassembled or it was moved to one of the side altars. It is no longer extant nor is the chapel of San José, both victims of earthquake damage and urban renewal (McAndrew, Open-Air Churches, pp. 397–99).

52 Reyes García, Anales, number 327; Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, pp. 133–134.

53 Reyes García, Anales, number 261.

54 Castillo, Diaz del, Historia, volume 1, p. 275.

55 Castillo, Diaz del, Historia, volume 2, p. 362 . Which of the two famed Spanish artists named Berruguete is being invoked remains moot, either Pedro (ca. 1450s-1503) or more likely, his son, Alonso (ca. 1485–1561), a sculptor of note and royal painter in the court of Charles V who would have been active during Bernal Diaz’ two trips back to Spain. It is possible too that for Bernal Diaz the name “Berruguete” carried an aura that transcended father and son.

56 Responding to a census question from a visitador in the Anales de Juan Bautista, Marcos cites his age as 52 in 1565, thus placing his birth prior to the conquest in 1513 (Reyes García, Anales, number 352).

57 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 131.

58 The attribution of the Guadalupe tilma painting to Marcos Cipac de Aquino began in the late nineteenth century around the time Bustamante’s sermon was first published (1884-88), most conspicuously in Joaquin García Icazbalceta (“Carta acerca del Origen de la Imagen de Nuestra Sra. De Guadalupe” of 1883), and the historian Francisco del Paso y Troncoso (“Noticia del indio Marcos…” of 1891) both republished in Torre Villar and Navarro (Testimonios, pp. 1106–1107 and pp. 129–41 respectively). Thereafter, the linkage was frequently cited, notably by the pioneer and influential art historian of Mexican colonial art, Toussaint, Manuel (La pintura en México durante el siglo XVI (México: Mundial, 1936), p. 13 , and, among many others, by John McAndrew (Open-Air Churches, p. 386) who attributes “the most celebrated and beautiful of Mexican sixteenth-century pictures: the Virgin of Guadalupe” to Marcos Cipac de Aquino.

59 Poole, Our Lady, p. 63; Cuevas, Mariano P., Historia de la iglesia en Mexico (México: Ed. Patria, S.A., 1921-28), volume 4, p. 21 ; Velázquez, La aparición, pp. 51–55, 402, 409.

60 For an opposing view, see Velázquez, La aparición, p. 55; Poole, Our Lady, p. 252:n. 70.

61 Castillo, Diaz del, Historia, volume 2, p. 362 . For another of the many chroniclers who lauded native artistry, see Toribio, Fray (de Benavente) Motolinía, Memoriales e Historia de los Indios de la Nueva España. In: Biblioteca de Autores Españoles (Madrid: Ed. Atlas, 1970), ch. 60:97; ch. 33:49; ch. 59:95.

62 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 66.

63 Warner, Marina, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), pp. 23654.

64 d’Ancona, Mirella Levi The Iconography of the Immaculate Conception in the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. Monographs on Archaeology and Fine Arts, VII (New York: College Art Association of America and Art Bulletin, 1957), pp. 6, 50; Stratton, Suzanne L., The Immaculate Conception in Spanish Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 2 . Two major theories developed that would presage a split among Catholics for centuries. The first, the theory of Sanctification, was espoused by a Dominican, St Thomas Aquinas (c. 1226–1274), who advocated the idea that while Mary had been conceived carnally she was cleansed and sanctified in the womb of her mother, Anne. Somewhat later in the thirteenth century the Franciscan, John Duns Scotus (c. 1266–1308) developed what would become the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, that Mary was preserved from sin from the moment of conception and thus had always enjoyed a state of original grace. However, only in 1480 was an Office and Mass to the Immaculate conception proclaimed by Pope Sixtus IV, a Franciscan himself, and not until 1854, when the doctrine was recognized as dogma, did the ecclesiastical officialdom certify the deeply entrenched beliefs of millions.

65 Older representations that were handily adapted included the Tree of Jesse (to insert Mary into Christ’s genealogy was to indicate that the Virgin too from the beginning was exempt from sin), the Meeting of Jesse and Anne at the Golden Gate, the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin, the Virgin of Mercy and the Annunciation (Levi d’Ancona, Iconography, pp. 15 ff.). On the varied themes, including the Santa Ana Triple, that slowly evolved to construct the pictorial representation of the Immaculate Conception in fifteenth-century Spain, see Stratton Immaculate, pp. 10–34.

66 Levi d’Ancona, Iconography, p. 15.

67 I derive these typologies from Stratton’s study of the Virgin Immaculate in Spanish art, although in a different order and with different emphases.

68 Lugo, Elisa Vargas (“Iconología guadalupana,” Imágenes Guadalupanas: Cuatro Siglos. México: Centro Cultural Arte Contemporáneo, 1988, p. 60 , fig. 20). As the woman who brought forth a man-child to rule all the nations (Revelation 12:5), the Apocalyptic woman was soon interpreted to be Mary, the mother of Christ for whom the archangel St. Michael defeats the dragon (or serpent) to vanquish evil, sin, and heresy. On this see Levi d’Ancona, Iconography, p. 22.

69 Vargas Lugo (“Iconología guadalupana,” p. 61, fig. 22) suggests an analogous early fifteenth-century Dutch graphic as an antecedent for the Mexican Guadalupe. See also a 1480 Augsburg print of the “Madonna of the Rosary,” a standing Virgin Mary and Christ Child encircled by a floral chain symbolic of the Rosary and in the corners are scrolls that can be read as the winged creatures seen by St. John, the four attributes of the evangelists.

The Spanish texts on the scrolls in figure 3 include (from upper left and clockwise):

  • “Quien es esta Reina? El consuelo del mundo.

  • “Dime cual es su nombre? Maria, Madre y Virgen.

  • “Cómo se podrá llegar á Ella? Invocándola y imitándola.

  • “Cómo obtuvo tanta gloria? Por su caridad y humildad

70 García, Sebastian, Los Miniados de Guadalupe (Guadalupe: Ed. Guadalupe, 1998), pp. 5355.

71 Luaces, Joaquin Yarza, Los Reyes Católicos: Paisaje Artistico de una Monarquia (Madrid: Ed. Nerea, 1993), pp. 16667.

72 García, Los Miniados, pp. 117–120; Yarza Luaces, LosReyes, p. 167; Cano-Cortés, Pilar Mogollón, “El Scriptorium Guadalupense.” In Guadalupe: Siete Siglos de Fe y de Cultura, edited by García, Sebastián (Guadalupe: Ediciones Guadalupe, 1993), p. 390.

73 The Virgin “clothed with the sun” traversed the Atlantic as single woodblocks or as illustrations in published books reused in Mexican publications. One excellent example is found in the Christian Doctrine (Doctrina Christiana en lengua mexicana) written in 1553 by Pedro de Gante, the Flemish lay brother who, in the Anales de Juan Bautista, ministered to a large native constituency in Mexico City. On Gante’s work, see Burkhart, Louise M., Before Guadalupe: The Virgin Mary in Early Colonial Nahuatl Literature (Albany: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies and University of Texas Press, 2001), pp. 58, 116–18.

74 Warner, Alone, pp. 92–92.

75 Yarza Luaces, Los Reyes, p. 162.

76 Michel Sittow, for example, was one of a group of Flemish artists who were brought to work in Spain; his elegant “Assumption of the Virgin,” is today in the National Gallery, Washington, D.C. Responding to the Northern European influences were also Spanish painters such as Pedro Berruguete who completed the “The Assumption of the Virgin” in 1485 in the Hispano-Flemish style. On this, see Katz, Melissa R., Divine Mirrors: The Virgin Mary in the Visual Arts (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 9798, 165–68.

77 García, Los Miniados, p. 124; Katz, Divine Mirrors, p. 99.

78 As one example, the city-state of Tlaxcala, strategic ally in the Spanish victory, took the Assumption as patron, as depicted within the opening scene of the Lienzo de Tlaxcala (c. 1550), a pictorial document that sought to validate and secure their privileged status.

79 The August 15th feast day of the Virgin’s Assumption was elaborately celebrated with processional sculptures of Mary fabricated for the occasion, as described in the Anales de Juan Bautista. An indigenous confraternity had responsibility for the corner chapels or posas in the courtyard of the Franciscan monastery of San Andrés Calpan, where one of the chapels was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin (ca. 1550–55). The nearby Franciscan monastery of Huejotzingo also had the SW posa dedicated to the Assumption as visible in the remnants of interior murals over the altar. On the Huejotzingo program, see McAndrew, Open-Air Churches, pp. 324–27.

80 Levi d’Ancona, Iconography, pp. 24, 65–70; Stratton, Immaculate, pp. 39–46. On the hidden mystical meanings of spiritual love in the Song of Songs between the bride (as ecclesia or the Virgin Mary) and the bridegroom (as Christ), see Astell, Ann W., The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1990), pp. 116, 42–50.

81 Stratton, Immaculate, fig. 23.

82 Stratton, Immaculate, p. 44. The early French engraving had a very long shelf life, with graphic offspring used as frontispieces by Jacome Cronberger in Sevilla in the 1530s, in 1531 in Valencia; 1534 and 1537 in Zaragoza (the Hortus passionis, Juan Millan); and in Toledo (Relación de San Juan de los Reyes, 1615). See Vindel, Francisco, Manual gráfico-descriptivo del bibliófilo hispano-americano: 1475–1850 (Madrid: Góngora, 193034) volume IV: 245; volume VIII: 25, 42, 193; and volume X: 74.

83 Stratton (Immaculate, pp. 46, 54–55, 59–63) argues that an orthodox iconography for the Immaiulate Conception, one that forges the tota pulchra with the apocalyptic woman of St. John, did not appear until the end of the sixteenth century in the Flemish engravings of Martin de Vos (ca. 1585–1600), the influential prints of the Wierix brothers and the paintings of El Greco. Yet, there can be no mistake that the Huejotzingo tota pulchra mural makes explicit historical links to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. On either side of the Virgin Mary, as wings on a triptych, are the two staunch defenders of the doctrine, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus.

84 A typical assemblage of symbols in the Huejotzingo mural include architectural metaphors such as the Civitas Dei (City of God from Ps. 87:3) or the Tower of David (Turris David cum propugnaculis, Song of Songs 4:4) both of which make references to Mary as the church; the Porta coeli (Gate of heaven from Genesis 28:17) expresses her mediating status to assist in attaining salvation Her virginity and purity are expressed with floral symbols represented to the right, including the Sicut lilium inter spinas or Lily among thorns, with thorns representing sins (Song of Songs 2:2), the Rose of Sharon and below, the Lily of the valleys (both from Song of Songs 2:1). Other symbols in the Huejotzingo mural include the oliva speciosa (Ecclesiastes 24:1) referring to a classical symbol of peace, the olive branch; the Stella maris or Star of the Sea from a medieval liturgical hymn and perhaps also from Revelation 22:16 (“the bright morning star”) [Stratton 1994, 42]; and a tree on right that could refer to the cedar of Lebanon (Song 5:15), Cypress of Zion or cedar exaltata (Eccles. 24:17).

85 Peterson, Paradise, pp. 57–82.

86 On the use of the Choir Virgin as the prototype for the Mexican Guadalupe, see Lafaye, Quetzalcoatl, pp. 235–37; Vargas Lugo, “Iconología Guadalupana” p. 63, PI. 25; Poole, Our Lady, pp. 74–75; Scheper, George L., “Guadalupe: Image of Submission or Solidarity?Religion and the Arts, 1999, 3:3/4, p. 363.

87 Gracia, Carlos Villacampa, Grandezas de Guadalupe (Madrid: Cleto Vallinas, 1924), pp. 25, 31; Rubio, German, Historia de Nra. Sra. de Guadalupe (Barcelona: Industrias Gráficas, 1926), p. 229.

88 Ecija, Diego de, Libro de la invención de esta Santa Imagen de Guadalupe [1514-34], introduction and transcription by Manzano, Arcangel Barrado (Cáceres: Departamento Provincial de Seminarios, 1953), p. 341

89 Rubio, Historia, pp. 386–89. The Spanish Guadalupe archives preserves a signed pen drawing by Enrique Egas of one of his three elaborate sarcophagi; his extant sculptures in the monastery include a beautiful alabaster Madonna and child intended for the Velasco sarcophagus.

90 Monastery of Guadalupe, Actas capitulares, fol. 3v.; de San José, Francisco; (Joseph), Historia Universal de la Primitiva y Milagrosa Imagen de Nra. Señora de Guadalupe, Fundación y Grandezas de su Santa Casa (Madrid: Antonio Marin, 1743), p. 145.

91 The earliest sixteenth-century history, written about the time of the conquest of Mexico, does not mention the Choir Virgin at all (Ecija, Libro) and Talavera, Gabriel de (Historia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Toledo: Thomas de Guzman, 1597, fol. 204v.) allots two sentences to “the sovereign figure of Our Lady, carved with a marvelous sense of design [traça] and proportion. She has the moon under her feet, is crowned with 12 stars, and her vestments are covered by the sun.” In contrast, Talavera spends four entire folios minutely describing the titular, miracle-working Black Madonna found on the main altarpiece of the Spanish sanctuary and then devotes the remainder of his text numerating her 300 miracles.

92 San José, Historia, p. 147.

93 San José, Historia, pp. 147, 140. San José devotes three chapters to the Mexican Guadalupe. Increasingly, pilgrims and visitors from New Spain recognized the visual resemblance of the relief sculpture in the choir to their own Tepeyac Guadalupe (San José, Historia, p. 145). This became so commonplace that the Virgin of the Choir is alternatively referred to in subsequent histories as “Our Lady of Concepcion” or “Nra. Sra. De Guadalupe” meaning of course the “Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe” (Villacampa, Grandezas, p. 31).

94 Villacampa, Grandezas, p. 25.

95 San José, Historia, pp. 145–47.

96 Other scholars to suggest multiple images in the Tepeyac shrine and the presence of a replica of the Iberian Guadalupe, in particular, include, de la Maza, El Guadalupanismo, pp. 14–16; Moreno, Wigberto Jiménez, Estudios de historia colonia (Mexico: INAH, 1958), pp. 12021 ; Lafaye, Quetzalcoatl, pp. 233, 237–38; O’Gorman, Destierro, pp. 9–15, and Scheper, “Guadalupe,” p. 362.

97 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, pp. 45, 58. See also Viceroy Enriquez’ letter of 1575 when he states that the Guadalupe name was only attached to the Tepeyac shrine after 1555/56 (Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 149).

98 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, pp. 61–62, 64–65.

99 This is stressed by Lafaye, Quetzalcoatl, pp. 233–38; see also Poole, Our Lady, pp. 71–72.

100 The witness, Francisco de Salazar, in Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 58.

101 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, pp. 148–49. The report of Viceroy Martin Enríquez de Almansa on the foundation of the Tepeyac shrine was sent to the Spanish monarch on September 23,1575. On Enríquez, see Poole, Our Lady, pp. 71–74.

102 Antonio Freyre, who calls himself “clerigo presbítero capellan,” commented in 1570 that Montúfar had founded the shrine fourteen years earlier (i.e., in 1556). In “Descripción eclesiastica…” Mexico 336A, Ramo 2, doc. 104, fols. 8r.-8v.; Archio General de las Indias, Sevilla.

103 Torre Villar and Navarro, Testimonios, p. 149.

104 Reyes García, Anales, number 32.

105 Philips, Miles, “The Voyage of Miles Philips, 1568,” The Principal Navigations, Voyages and Discoveries of the English Nation [1589]Hakluyt, Richard, IX (Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons, 1904), p. 419.

106 Although Florencia (La Estrella, fol. 183v.) describes an all-silver sculpture, Velázquez (La Aparición, p. 11, n.26) cites the inventories in the Mexican Guadalupe archives where the Villaseca sculpture is described as being of silver with copper, “una imagen de nuestra Señora, de plata, con tornillos y chapa de cobre en que está armada, que pesó cuarenta marcos y tres cuartos.” Inventories that include this silver sculpture of Guadalupe were repeated after 1698, until 1701 when an entry noted that the sculpture had been melted down to make a large candlestick (blandón). On this see also Poole 1995, Our Lady, p. 52.

107 Philips, “The Voyage,” p. 419; Poole, Our Lady, pp. 69–70.

108 This multiplicity of images persisted into the seventeenth century when three different reproductions of the Mexican Guadalupe herself are cited in a 1683 inventory of the basilica. In addition to Villaseca’s great silver statue the size of a woman and surmounted by a crown, a second silver image of Guadalupe even taller than Villaseca’s 1566 gift was displayed. Additionally, there was a small-scale “kissing image of Guadalupe” which was made accessible to satisfy the pilgrims’ need for physical contact with the holy. This Marian figure stood on a silver base that doubled as a reliquary by encasing a fragment of Juan Diego’s cloak (Florencia, La Estrella, fol, 183v.; and citing an inventory of 1683, fols. 191–194).

109 O’Gorman, Destierro, pp. 39–40, 85–90, 146–148; Poole, Our Lady, pp. 58, 66–68.

110 Jeanette Favrot Peterson, “The Power of Darkness: Guadalupe and Black Madonnas from Spain to the Americas,” paper given at XXVIII International Colloquium on History of Art (2004), Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

111 For example, in Sánchez, Imagen, fols 6–6v.

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Creating the Virgin of Guadalupe: The Cloth, the Artist, and Sources in Sixteenth-Century New Spain

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