Spanning some three hundred years, this masterful study of the transmission of the Virgin of Guadalupe from Spain to the Americas and back again explores the subjectivity of seeing and the power of an image at the intersection of religion and politics.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is famously migratory, traversing continents and crossing and recrossing oceans. Guadalupe’s earliest cult originated in medieval Iberia, where Our Lady of Guadalupe from Extremadura, Spain, played a significant role in the reconquista and garnered royal backing. The Spanish Guadalupe accompanied the conquistadors as part of the spiritual arsenal used to Christianize the Americas, where new images of the Virgin acted as catalysts to implant her devotion within multiethnic constituencies.
This masterful study by Jeanette Favrot Peterson traces the transmission of Guadalupe as la Virgen de ida y vuelta from Spain to the Americas and back again, analyzing how the Spanish and Mexican titular images, and a selection of the copies they inspired, operated within the overlapping spheres of religion and politics. Peterson explores two central paradoxes: that only through a material object can a divine and invisible presence be authenticated and that Guadalupe’s images were made to work for enacting revolutionary change while preserving the colonial status quo. She examines the artists who created images of Guadalupe, their patrons, and the diverse viewing audiences for whom those images were intended. This exegesis reveals that visual evidence functioned on a par with written texts (treatises, chronicles, and sermons of ecclesiastical officialdom) in measuring popular beliefs and political strategies.
Honorable mention for The Association for Latin American Art Margaret Arvey Book Award
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Subjectivity of Seeing
Chapter 1: The Sacrality of Blackness
Chapter 2: “Because She Was of Their Color”
Chapter 3: Her Presence in Her Absence
Chapter 4: Making Guadalupe
Chapter 5: A “Book of Miracles”
Chapter 6: Sacred Cloth and Veiled Body
Chapter 7: Aura and Authorship
Chapter 8: The Civil/Savage Paradox
Chapter 9: The Viceroys and the Virgin
Chapter 10: Collecting Guadalupe
“Incredibly thorough in both research and analysis, this book sets a standard for scholars of Spanish and Mexican art, religion, andculture.”
“The book expands the understanding of the connections between sacred representations and the ways they are envisioned by different communities of the faithful. . . . Future researches on Latin American sacred art and Mexican culture in general will indeed be inspired by Visualizing Guadalupe.”