Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Painting, the Legend and the Reality


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About the Book

According to legend, on December 8, 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared to the newly Christianized Juan Diego on the Mexican hill of Tepeyacac. As proof of her divine visit, she miraculously imprinted her image upon his mantle. That image, known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, has become a symbol of national consciousness in Mexico and a talisman for Mexican Americans. Yet its notable features include obviously European artistic techniques. How is it that Renaissance styles are employed in a 16th century Mexican icon supposedly not made by human hands? Looking beyond the divine explanation for the Lady’s existence, author John Moffitt uses historical and artistic detective work to determine the work’s earthly origin.
Originally published in Spanish, this volume provides an in-depth study of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It places the work within the context of art history as well as local contemporary events. The mundane origin of the painting is fully traced and investigated as well as the proliferation of the legend which led to the eventual canonization of Juan Diego as the first native Mexican saint. Appendices provide crucial related Spanish-language texts by Miguel Sanchez (1648) and Luis Laso de la Vega (1649, originally published in Náhuatl). Numerous illustrations are included.

About the Author(s)

The late John F. Moffitt authored, edited or translated numerous books about art history. He was an art history professor at New Mexico State University.

Bibliographic Details

John F. Moffitt
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: 44 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2667-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations      ix
Preface      1
Introduction      7

1. The Documentary Basis: The Nican mopohua      11
2. The Larger Art-Historical Context: The Acheiropoietai      28
3. The Local Historical Context: Spanish Marian Apparitions      39
4. The European Topoi Embedded in Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe and Some Physical Facts      47
5. The Corpus of European Graphic Prototypes      59
6. Who Painted Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe?      69
7. Who Coined the Legend of Juan Diego and the “Miraculous” Tilma Portrait?      88
8. A New Perspective on Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe      107

Appendix I: Imagen de la Virgen María, Madre de Dios de Guadalupe, milagrosamente Aparecida en la Ciudad de México. Celebrada en su Historia, con la Profecía del capítulo doze del Apocalipsis (1648) by Miguel Sánchez      119
Appendix II: Huei Tlamaluizolitca omonexiti in ilhuicac tlatoca cihuapilli Santa María Totlaçonantzin Guadalupe in nican huei altepenahuac. Mexico Itocayocan Tepeyacac (1649) by Luis Laso de la Vega      224
Chapter Notes      243
Bibliography      255
Index      259