July 5, 2015 - July 3, 2016
Unidentified artist (Peru, Cuzco)
Our Lady of Miracles (Cuzco), 17th or 18th century
Oil on copper with gold
9 5/8 x 7 3/4 in.
The Marilynn and Carl Thoma Collection
The Blanton recently opened the second phase of Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary: Colonial Paintings from South America. Featuring loans from one of the country’s most distinguished collections of colonial South American art—the Marilynn and Carl Thoma Collection of Chicago—the exhibition investigates representations of the Virgin that emerged within colonial Latin America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The first iteration of the presentation featured works from both the Thoma Collection and the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection of New York, and showcased Marian imagery created by Europeans and brought from Spain to the New World. Together, the two phases of Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary underscore the vast influence of Spain and the Catholic Church during the period and illustrate the transmission–and also the transformation–of imagery of the Virgin as it traveled from Europe to the Americas, and then throughout the Americas.
Created in the modern-day countries of Peru and Bolivia, the “sculpture paintings” now on view mark the shift in representations of the Virgin from Europe to the Americas. Created by indigenous artists, the paintings reflect and were inspired by local miracles attributed to sculptures of Mary, which could be found in churches and holy places throughout the region. The works attest to the propagation of images of the Virgin in South America, as well as her rise in popularity during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Moving beyond Marian iconography imported from Europe, these works reflect the artistic and cultural practices of the region, and reveal their emerging localized traditions of Catholicism. To provide additional context, two original maps from the period—one Dutch and one French—are featured in the exhibition, on special loan from the Benson Latin American Collection, part of the University of Texas Libraries.
Re-envisioning the Virgin Mary: Colonial Painting from South America is organized by the Blanton Museum of Art.