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Painting the Two Mar�as: Sor Mar�a de �greda and Marian Iconography in Colonial Mexico

  • Saylor, Miranda
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2023
eScholarship - University of California
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This dissertation investigates a collection of innovative and unorthodox paintings that aggrandized the role of the Virgin Mary. These works were inspired by a seventeenth-century biography of the Virgin written by the Spanish mystic Sor Mar�a de �greda (1602–1665). Sor Mar�a argued that the Madonna was Christ and God’s equal, queen of wisdom, and co-redeemer of the world—shocking claims that provoked debate in Europe and the Americas. In the Viceroyalty of New Spain, artists embraced Sor Mar�a’s dramatic valorization of Mary by creating distinctive images that elevated the Virgin’s stature, altering canonical sacred subjects including the Immaculate Conception, Annunciation, Last Supper, Flagellation, and Assumption. By examining instances of colonial painting departing from orthodoxy, this project underscores how New Spanish artists were at the forefront of iconographic developments that transformed sacred art rather than the recipients of pictorial traditions inherited from Europe. Moreover, the thesis promises to reveal the fundamental role of female authors and subjects in colonial art first by highlighting how a woman’s visions inspired these pictorial changes and second by analyzing the exceptional importance of the Madonna in Mexican Catholicism beyond the Virgin of Guadalupe.

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