Back to Inquiry Set

7.9a.7a Virgin of Guadalupe (Virgen de Guadalupe)

The Virgin is wearing blue robes with gold stars and trim decorating the cloth. She is wearing a crown and her hands are clasped in prayer. She is depicted surrounded by four roundels illustrating her various apparitions to Juan Diego. The larger roundel at her feet depicts her new sanctuary (completed in 1709) at the hill of Tepeyac.
circa 1720
de Torres, Antonio. Virgin of Guadalupe (Virgen de Guadalupe). Painting. Circa 1720. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Latin American Art M.2014.91.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the image and cult of the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe became very popular throughout the colony of New Spain. Artists produced many images of the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe for display in church and homes. Some were important works of art, and others were simple and less expensive, such as the second image, which was painted on wood. What was the iconography of these images? What features do the images share? How do those compare to the Nahua and European sources 1 and 2?
These two images offer students evidence for extended iconographic analysis. Have them add to the list they began in Source 4 to make a detailed list of the images’ common characteristics.. Then have them construct a chart to compare those features with the Nahua statue of Chicomecóatl and the European miniature of Mary. The chart should have three columns: one for the features, one for the Nahua influence, and one for the European influence. Have students refer back to sources 1 and 2 to figure out the influences. Finish this activity by pointing out to students that the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe — image and cult — represents a synthesis of Nahua and European iconography. Catholicism in Mexico is a syncretic religion, which Nahuas and Mesoamericans could accept more easily than European-style Catholicism imposed on them.